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Boost for appeal in memory of press photographer

A memorial fund set up to commemorate the life and work of a local press photographer is well on its way to hitting its target after his former employers set the ball rolling.

Denis Williams served readers of the Welwyn Hatfield Times for 32 years before his retirement in 1991.

Following his death at his home in October aged 76, close friend Tricia Gauduchon decided she would like to have a commemorative bench put up in Welwyn Garden City.

The paper’s parent company Archant kicked the fundraising off with a £250 donation while Mrs Gauduchon spent Saturday at a fair in the Hertfordshire town with donation buckets collecting cash toward the £500 target.

Mrs Gauduchon told the Times: “He devoted his life to WGC. Photography was his life, whether it was jazz or Welwyn Hatfield, and I think it needs to be recognised.”

Denis, who was born in Bristol, was the Welwyn Hatfield Times’ chief photographer from 1959 until 1991 but he continued his association with the weekly right up until his death, regularly bringing in pictures and stories.

He was also a passionate fan of jazz and took photos of thousands of musicians throughout his life.

Many of his pictures adorned the record sleeves of top jazz stars and Denis was the unofficial photographer of the Herts Jazz Club.

An exhibition of Denis’ photographs will be shown later this year at a local gallery as part of Welwyn Garden City’s 90th birthday celebrations.