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Regional press photographer remembered for 'steely determination' in union talks

A local press photographer has been remembered for his “steely determination” in union talks following his death aged 73.

Michael Reilly joined Tweeddale Press Group in 1976 as a photographer with the Berwickshire News and represented journalists in Berwick and the Scottish borders for the National Union of Journalists.

He retired in 2010 and passed away at St Oswald’s Hospice in Newcastle on 16 August.

Reilly was described as a “loving and much loved husband” as well as a “devoted dad” and “special grandad” in an obituary notice published in the Berwick Advertiser.

The National Union of Journalists said the photojournalist,, was as an “amiable individual” but this hid a “steely determination” which showed itself when negotiations with management “got tough”.

“And he wasn’t afraid to tell it straight to colleagues either,” the NUJ said. “But more often than not it was his calm, measured tones which contributed most in discussions with fellow members and bosses.”

The union said Reilly was lovingly described as a “champagne socialist” at his funeral service last week.

NUJ Scotland national organiser John Toner said: “Michael was a quietly spoken man, who spoke succinctly and only when he felt a point had not been made by someone else.

“Because of this, we were always attentive to his wise words. He will be remembered fondly by all of us who had the pleasure to know him.”

Reilly was born in Edinburgh in December 1945 and grew up in Prestopans, East Lothian.

His funeral service, held at Houndwood Crematorium in Berwickshire on 28 August, was reportedly “packed”.

Reilly is survived by his wife Aileen and his four children Jamie, Sarah, Emma and Alex.

Picture: NUJ

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