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Former daily photographer loses MND battle aged 62

Donald StewartA former regional daily photographer who had to give up working earlier this year after contracting motor neurone disease has died aged 62.

Tributes have been paid from the worlds of journalism and sport to Donald Stewart, pictured left, a freelancer who previously worked for Aberdeen Journals titles the Evening Express and the Press & Journal.

HTFP reported in January how Donald had been forced to give up working at football matches because of the condition.

He was well known at Aberdeen FC, photographing some of the club’s most famous matches.

The Evening Express said in an obituary that Donald’s personality meant “even footballers, who notoriously distance themselves from the press, were happy to have their picture taken by him.”

Former Aberdeen defender Willie Miller, who played for the club during their 1980s heyday, said Donald would be “sorely missed”.

He said: “Over the years – many years – he was on the other end of the camera when I was involved at the club. He made it so easy to be on the other side and relaxed.

“He was always one with a smile on his face.”

Joe Harper, who also played for the club, added: “He was a nice, lovely guy who was always smiling, always happy and never said a bad word about anyone.

“I know for a fact that even my generation of footballers and footballers of today – everyone admired him and looked up to him.”

Donald started working at Aberdeen Journals in 1974, mainly for the Evening Express, covering football matches.

After leaving the Journals, Donald forged a successful career as a freelancer, covering major news events, including Royal visits. He also had an extensive PR career.

He remained determined to carry on working even after his motor neurone disease diagnosis, with wife Doreen helping him to various jobs, but as his strength weakened he was forced to stop.

Former colleague Ian Mollison said: “Donald was everything you would want from a photographer.

“He was a real gentleman and an excellent photographer, highly respected by everyone he came into contact with.”

Donald was married to Doreen for 40 years, and they had three children, Duncan, Victoria and Callum – and two grandchildren, Angus, three, and Lewis, seven weeks.

Doreen said: “He was a newspaper man all his life – he just loved his job.

“People nowadays do their job, go home and that is it, but Donald just loved every minute of being a photographer. He always had time for a chat – which is why he was always late!

“He made everyone feel relaxed. There have been so many comments left on Facebook and it is nice to know that he is so well thought of.”