Stan Royle, former Manchester Evening News picture editor, has died aged 78 in Stranraer, peacefully at home. He had suffered a heart attack three years ago and was revived by paramedics.
Stanley Ashton Royle was born in Chorlton Cum Hardy on 25 July, 1927, and started in newspapers with the Kemsley Press in York in 1950, moving swiftly to the York Evening Press, where he met Rene and married in 1953.
A sign of fun times ahead, the wedding car had ‘Aisle Change Hymn’
strung to the bumper.
Always looking for a challenge, Stan joined the Parachute Regiment for a stint, gaining his Red Beret and wings and establishing that he had no fear of heights — or anything else for that matter. This gift gave him inspiration for one of his award-winning pictures, entitled "High Tea".
Taken hundreds of feet up on a girder on the building of the CIS in Manchester, the picture is of workmen having a brew, and it won Stan the Encyclopaedia Britannica Award for 1961.
In 1956 Stan had moved from York, where he and Rene had shared, as he often recalled, "the best of times", to become photographer for the Manchester Evening News. He was great friends with Manchester United’s Duncan Edwards and other "Busby Babes", working on coverage of the Munich air disaster. He also became friends with George Best.
Among other high-profile stories, Stan worked on the Saddleworth Moors murders (he snatched one of the first pictures of Ian Brady), the Aberfan landslide disaster, the Apollo 12 launch, the Yorkshire Ripper case, and he travelled to Borneo and met tribes out in Sarawak. A list of his photojournalism would fill a book.
Stan, who became picture editor in 1981, had a great circle of friends in the media. These included Ken Tucker, Peter Pittilla, Bill Batchelor, Clive Cooksey, Geoff Webster, Eamonn McCabe, Donovan, Don McCullin, Denis Thorpe, Denis Husse and Andrew Stenning, who in 1986 Stan recommended to stay on Saddleworth Moor for 99 days waiting for the return of Ian Brady. Sure enough, it happened and Stenning won news photographer of the year.
Stan’s picture editing got the splash of the plane going down the runway in flames in the 1985 Manchester air disaster — which was shown on ITV and around the world.
He worked on other major picture jobs such as the Moss Side riots, the Strangeways riots, the Piper Alpha disaster and Lockerbie.
Stan leaves wife Rene, sons Carl and Clifford and daughter Karen.