Paul Morris

TRIBUTES have been paid to former Gazette photographer Paul Morris, known to many as Mini, who died on Thursday aged 59.

Mr Morris, who was known for his dapper dress sense, grew up in Devizes and was a former pupil of St Peter’s primary and Devizes School.

He came into press photography after trying his hand at forestry and deciding it was not for him.

He leaves his father David and mother Patricia and two sons Ben and Jack.

His friend Hamish Atkinson threw light on where his love of a waistcoat and bow tie came from.

He said: “Paul’s trademark look arose after his first editor criticised him turning up in jeans on his first day, so he thought he would show him and visited the gentleman’s outfitters.”

Former reporter Lewis Cowen said: ““When I first began on the Devizes News in 1990 the editor of the Avon Advertiser, which ran the little free paper, introduced me to Paul Morris by saying: ‘He’s a bit of a hippie but he takes nice snaps.’ An understatement, I discovered when I saw the quality of pictures that Paul delivered time after time, some of the best news photos I have ever seen.”

“Paul became a close friend, then and later, when we both joined the staff of the Gazette and Herald. He was a joy to work with.”

Former Gazette editor Gary Lawrence said: “Paul spent many years in and around Devizes taking photographs for the Gazette and the Devizes News so he was very well known and liked.It was impossible to walk through the Market Place alongside him without at least two people coming to say hello.

“He loved the town and its people and was never happier than when he was out with his camera at an event.”

Former chief photographer Diane Vose said: “Paul was a real fun character to work alongside at the Gazette, a very experienced press photographer who was so skilled at capturing a story in an image.”

“Paul was particularly great at photographing children and getting the best out of their personalities, they would greet him with a big smile and loved his quirky dress sense of bow tie, waistcoat and tweed jacket.

Former Wiltshire Times photographer Dave Bunton said: “I remember he drove a White Porsche Sports car for some years while working in Devizes.” He worked for the Salisbury Times for sometime before returning to the Wiltshire Gazette as a staff photographer. He was easy to get on with.

Wiltshire Times photographer Glenn Phillips said:” Very sad to hear of Paul’s death. Knew him from his days on the Devizes News freesheet back in mid 80swhere he worked as graphic artist as well as taking photos before joining Gazette.He was great fun to work with in the ‘golden age’ of press photography.”

A funeral service will be held at St Peter’s Church but a date is yet to be fixed. Contact Winchcombes on 01380 722500.