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Photographer who served sister titles for nearly four decades dies aged 67

John StoryA photographer who spent four decades with a group of sister newspapers has died aged 67.

Tributes have been paid to John Story, who spent the majority of his career with Cumbrian Newspapers.

John, pictured, worked for the North West Evening Mail before joining the office of the Whitehaven News in the late 1970s.

There, he also took pictures for titles including the Workington Times & Star, Carlisle News & Star and Cumberland News before retiring in 2018.

Former Whitehaven News editor Colin Edgar told his old paper: “This is a dreadful shock and I send deepest sympathy to Mandy and the rest of John’s family.

“So many readers will have known John. Like every newspaper photographer he was there for the milestones in people’s lives – the first week at school, the school proms, the big wedding anniversaries, and those moments of triumph and tragedy.

“He had a knack of chivvying people along to get just the right photo because he had the photographer’s eye, he knew what image would catch the reader’s attention.

“As a paid-up member of the human race he would have a grumble when we piled ‘just one more job’ on him when he already had a to-do list as long as your arm. But when he came back to the office to process his pictures he would rush to show you the end results, justifiably proud in his craftsmanship.”

Former News reporter Margaret Crosby added: “John was always a pleasure to work with and was highly regarded for his photographic talent and his good-natured interaction with the public, both important factors for the success of a local newspaper. His loss is deeply felt and our sympathies go out to Mandy and the family.

“He was an accomplished technician and a safe pair of hand. If a photo was needed at short notice, John would be the man to provide it.

“He had a tremendous knowledge of the area, its people and events and his lifetime legacy will be the many thousands of exceptional images he recorded of West Cumbria’s people and places during four decades.

“His atmospheric close-up of trail hounds leaping a fence became award-winning and much admired.”

Mike McKenzie worked alongside John as a photographer for 20 years,

He said: “He immediately took me under his wing, befriended me and looked after me. He was always there for advice if I needed it. He was supportive and friendly and made me feel part of the group.”

John had been a member of the National Union of Journalists since 1976 and served as Father of Chapel at the News, as well as chair of the NUJ’s West Cumbria branch.

Chris Morley, the union’s Northern & Midlands senior organiser, told the News: “John was in every way respected by his colleagues and the union has lost a fine champion in the region.”