An “eccentric” former daily newspaper photographer who was the only professional to capture the 1984 fire at York Minster on camera has died aged 90.
Tributes have been paid to James Marsden Mitchinson, known as Mitch, who was the first photographer on the scene of the devastating blaze.
Mitch spent around 35 years at the Yorkshire Evening Press – now known as The Press, York – having served in the Royal Air Force during the Second World War and also working in Intelligence.
He died of pneumonia at his home in Leeds, where he lived alone.
Former fellow photographer John Giles said: “He was always very smartly turned out, with a beautifully trimmed beard.
“He could be forthright, and the label eccentric could be applied to him.
“He always gave 110 per cent and helped in the training of a whole series of photographers at the paper who won it so many awards.
“His biggest pictures were of the fire at York Minster in 1984. It was a global event and while many turned up in the aftermath, he was the only professional photographer to be there taking pictures while it was burning.”
Former Press photographic editor Martin Oates paid his own tribute.
He said: “He was a true professional. There was a story of how he fractured his pelvis or hip but carried on working, using his tripod as a crutch, and was found in the darkroom, saying he would just put his pictures through before going to hospital.
“On the night of the Minster fire, he was on duty and must have heard about it and went down there to photograph it.
“He was a real character and quite eccentric, and was known by many people. He was always very dapper with a suit and tie, and was very helpful when I was a junior there.”