Much respected Sevenoaks Chronicle photographer Alex Watson has died, aged 81.
His association with the newspaper lasted for 60 years and he was still helping out at the Northcliffe-owned weekly at the time of his death. Indeed, he was about to start a project to transfer the paper’s negatives into digital format.
He died peacefully at home in Sevenoaks last month.
Alex was the Chronicle’s first full-time photographer when he joined in 1948. The paper had previously relied on freelances.
Among the many highlights of his career were when he photographed The Beatles when they made a surprise visit to the town in 1967, several photo opportunities with the Queen Mother and his team’s remarkable coverage of the infamous 1987 Great Storm which decimated Sevenoaks.
He was also involved in the training of photographers and he has been credited with helping hundreds of young photographers learn the skills needed in the trade.
Chronicle staff devoted three news pages, including a poster front page, to the shock death of their beloved colleague and didn’t have enough space to run all the tributes that poured in.
Chronicle community editor Ian Read said: ‘Alex had been a huge part of not just the Chronicle, but Sevenoaks itself for so many years that his death has left a huge hole.
‘He was not just a valued colleague but a perfect gentleman and nobody had a bad word to say about him. He was a model employee who simply loved the industry, and the fact that he was about to start getting to grips with digital scanning is a sign of how committed he was to the paper.
‘He had touched many thousands of lives during his remarkable career and we will ensure that his legacy lives on through his wonderful photographs.”