Kevin Fitzpatrick

Popular and talented national newspaper photographer Kevin Fitzpatrick has died at the age of 62.

He had a distinguished career as a Daily Mirror staffman and also worked as a freelance in Yorkshire, Manchester and throughout the North West.

As a teenager Kevin began his career with the Altrincham Guardian and after that was based in Yorkshire, working for the old East Midlands Press Agency.

He then returned to Manchester and in 1966 took a staff job with the Daily Mirror, working out of Withy Grove.

When the Mirror opened new offices in Dublin, with a then revolutionary colour press, Kevin was selected to lead its photographic department.

Not long after his arrival in Dublin the Ulster Civil Rights movement began and Kevin covered the riots and "the Troubles" that followed.

He then returned to Manchester, working for the Mirror, and in the late Eighties set up his own business as a freelance. In this period he worked extensively for The Daily Telegraph.

Perhaps his most famous photograph was of the Pope's arrival at Manchester Airport. Kevin's award-winning image captured the moment when the Pontiff's hat was blown off by a gust of wind as he walked down the steps of the plane.

Noted for a ready wit and his no-nonsense, down-to-earth manner, Kevin perfected the knack of putting people at their ease in front of his lens.

Daily Mirror picture editor Ian Downs said: "Kevin was a truly great photographer of the old school. He was a very loyal, fun-loving colleague and formed a vital part of a great team of photographers in the North.

"His work for the Mirror spanned more than three decades and involved him in covering some of the most difficult assignments, especially in Northern Ireland.

"But nothing daunted him and he was able to turn in great pictures in any situation. He treated all the subjects of his camera with equal care and professionalism. He will be sadly missed." In the last two decades of his life Kevin became a leading member of the National Association of Press Agencies, representing freelance journalists and photographers.

Kevin fought a brave battle, first against a kidney tumour and towards the end cancer that affected his liver and spine.

Despite the severity of his illness, as recently as a fortnight before his death he was exchanging jokes with colleagues.

In mock solemnity Kevin quipped: "If I was not so ill, I would be worried to death about the state of the photography business..." He died on Saturday 9 June at St Anne's Hospice in Cheadle Hulme, Manchester.

Kevin is survived by his brother Frank and two sisters, Pat and Helena.

Chris Johnson

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