Roger Hooper - Former Worcester Evening News photographer

Roger
Hooper, award-winning press photographer, Salvation Army stalwart,
wedding photographer and coach company operator, has died of a heart
attack at the age of 61.

Worcester born and bred, Roger worked in
the photographic department of the Worcester Evening News for 23 years
before leaving to set up his own business in 1983.

In 1976 he was
runner-up Midlands Press Photographer of the Year, with a portfolio of
images ranging from workmen in Worcester’s sewers to the rescue of a
pilot from a crashed glider.

Roger’s sense of humour and fun made him a pleasure to work alongside.

“One
of the first things you noticed about Roger Hooper was his beaming
smile,” said former colleague and News columnist Mike Grundy. “He
always seemed so cheery, no matter what.”

Roger was a third
generation Salvationist, and by the age of eight he was playing in the
Army’s young persons band. He later became a senior soldier and senior
bandsman and was a familiar sight playing in the Army band on the
streets of Worcester.

Roger joined the paper, then colloquially
known as The News and Times, on 4 January 1960 straight from school,
and covered the whole gamut of local news stories from weddings to
murders.

He went to Ireland with the Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment at the height of “The Troubles”.

After
leaving, he set up his own wedding photography business. “I adopted the
rule, ‘Never upset the vicar’,” he recalled. “If you did, they never
let you back in the church for a start, and the last thing you want at
a wedding is an irate vicar stomping about.”

He was an
accomplished motorist and drove trans-continental holiday coaches for
several companies before Former Scunthorpe Telegraph chief sub-editor,
John Beacock has died suddenly in hospital.

John, who was 69, was
one of the longest-serving members of the editorial staff at Scunthorpe
until his retirement in November 1998, after working his way up through
the ranks from reporter to deputy news editor and finally to chief
sub-editor, with the introduction of new technology in 1989.

It was during his national service days in the RAF that he decided to enter journalism.

John was a military policeman, stationed in the east coast town of Bempton, near Bridlington.

“He
had locked up a prisoner in one of the cells,” explained his wife Jean,
“and this chap told John he had started work aged 16 as a reporter.”

The
prisoner talked to John about his job and said how much he loved it,
and it was that conversation, said Jean, which inspired John to pursue
a career in journalism.

When John left the RAF he lived John
Beacock: Scunthorpe was his love Stan Agate Roger Hooper with his
parents in Gainsborough. An advertisement for a reporter on the former
Scunthorpe Star caught his eye. But it was John’s dad who rang and
spoke to the editor, Bill Plowright, telling him his son was interested
in the job.

John joined the staff of the Scunthorpe Telegraph in
1966 as its chief reporter after a brief spell abroad and a spell
working as a freelance with the late Harold Caine.

In Scunthorpe
he joined a news team headed by Mik Robins and other local newspaper
legends including Tom Taylor and Norman Reeder.

A year after they
first met, John and Jean were married in her home town of Falkirk, and
back in Scunthorpe the couple made their home in Church Lane where they
lived ever since and where they brought up their two children.

Christopher, born in 1972, and Kirsty, who arrived two years later.

During
his retirement John read newspapers from cover to cover every day . He
also revived his old interest in steam trains and both he and Jean were
actively involved in the local quiz league.

His other earlier
interests saw him heavily involved with the Anchor Swimming Club, of
which he was chairman for five years, and for 10 years he was secretary
of the Appleby- Frodingham swimming club.

Scunthorpe Telegraph
deputy editor Jane Manning said: “When I arrived John was chief
sub-editor, and as such was a prominent figure in the newsroom. He
combined professionalism and personality. He knew the job inside out
and was a mine of information.”

Scunthorpe Telegraph reporter,
Nick Cole, a friend for more than 40 years, said: “John was a true
professional, a solid family man and an adventurer.

“I am sure
John – Corporal Snowdrop as he was affectionately known – will have
organised the big quiz league in the sky with Saint Peter as the
inquisitor. We salute you, Corporal”.

Sports editor Bob Steels
said: “One of his finest hours was in 1974 during the Flixborough
Disaster when he helped mobilise the Telegraph news team for a story
that was covered by news agencies worldwide, and it was John again at
the helm of page design when the Telegraph changed from broadsheet to
tabloid in 1990.”

Hazel Tomlins, Scunthorpe Telegraph “He combined professionalism and personality.

He knew his job inside out and was a mine of information.

I had great respect for him.”

setting up his own business, mostly involving community transport around Worcester.

Roger,
who lived in Worcester, died in Worcestershire Royal Hospital following
a series of heart attacks. His funeral was held at the Salvation Army
Hall in The Trinity, followed by burial at Astwood Cemetery.

Grundy
said: “I shared one of the most memorable days in my life with Roger in
the mid-1980s when we went down the Merthyr Vale Mine at Aberfan. At
the time we were carrying “Day In The Life” features.

“We rode
down 600 feet in the cage lift and walked two-and-a-half miles to the
working coal-face and then back, fleetingly experiencing the appalling
conditions endured every day by the miners, including all temperatures,
winds, dust and visibility in the tunnels.

“Roger was always a
cheery, amiable, amusing and competent colleague as a photographer and
a friendly acquaintance with a beaming smile in his later vocations.”

Evening News

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