TRIBUTE has been paid to a much-respected former chief photographer of the Shields Gazette, Ken Stobbs, who has died at the age of 76.
Mr Stobbs passed away peacefully at St Clare's Hospice in Jarrow, almost a year after being diagnosed with cancer.
Educated at South Shields Grammar Technical School for Boys, he began his newspaper career as a 16-year-old runner for the Gazette, rushing photographic film from sports events, such as football matches, for processing at the paper.
It fostered an interest in photography in him, and by the mid-to-late 1950s he was working as a freelance photographer in London's Fleet Street.
It was the call of the sea that brought him back home; a keen outdoors man, he was an enthusiastic canoeist and missed being out on the water.
From the early 1970s onwards he worked as a press photographer for the Shields Gazette's sister titles, the Shields Weekly News, at North Shields, and the Whitley Bay Guardian.
In the 1980s he transferred to The Shields Gazette, where he remained until retirement in 1996.
Away from work, as well as his love of canoeing, he was a keen walker and member of the Ramblers' Association, and also enjoyed foreign
Tim Richardson, current chief photographer of the Gazette, worked with Mr Stobbs for eight years.
He said: "Ken was a thoroughly professional and inspirational photographer who was a pleasure to work with.
"He had a marvellous sense of humour, a really dry wit. He will be remembered with much affection by those who worked with him."
Mr Stobbs leaves a daughter, Emma, and a grandson, Matthew.
The funeral service will take place at South Shields Crematorium tomorrow at 1.30pm.