‘An eye for capturing best shots at the right time’ - Former Standard photographer who gave 45 years' service to paper dies, aged 85

Former Standard photographer Gary Atkinson, who gave more than four decades’ service to the paper and its communities, has died.

Gary Atkinson, the Lincolnshire Standard Group's first staff photographer.
Gary Atkinson, the Lincolnshire Standard Group's first staff photographer.

Gary joined the Lincolnshire Standard Group in January 1957 as its first staff photographer. There, he remained until retirement 20 years ago in 2002. At that point, The Standard was 90 years old – Gary had been with the paper for about half of those.

Over the years, Gary was assisted by a number of other photographers and built a darkroom at 12 Wide Bargate – The Standard’s home prior to its move to Church Lane.

Of the many assignments he covered during his time with the paper, Gary met and photographed many well-known names, including Elton John and songwriting partner Bernie Taupin, Doctor Who star Tom Baker, two-time World’s Strongest Man Geoff Capes, and the 1966 England World Cup squad.

Elton John and songwriting partner Bernie Taupin at the Gliderdrome, in Boston, as photographed by Gary Atkinson.

Gary met and married his first wife, Susan, in 1962, and had two children, Jennifer and Peter. They later divorced and he married Barbara in 1978 and they had another son, Michael.

After retirement, he continued to take photographs and became interested in digital photography.

At weekends, he could invariably be found at the track at Cadwell Park, taking pictures of motorcycle races.

He was also an avid follower of trials and motocross and grass track racing, attending races whenever he could, and took a keen interest in cricket and Formula One.

Gardening was a much loved pastime, and Gary grew most of his own fruit and vegetables, with Michael’s assistance, including figs and apricots. He also enjoyed listening to music.

Gary died at Boston’s Pilgrim Hospital on July 14 from heart failure.

In a statement released to the paper announcing the death, his family said: “Always kind and patient, Gary had an eye for capturing the best shot at the right time and put everyone at ease with his calm, friendly manner and sense of humour.”

His funeral will be held at Boston Crematorium on August 4 at 2.30pm.

Donations in his memory of Gary can be made to the Pilgrim Heart and Lung Fund, his family said.