Tributes to a picture legend

A FORMER photographer for The Hunts Post, Harry George Drewett, has died, aged 85. Mr Drewett, known to his friends as Jock, had been suffering from lung cancer. His funeral was last week. He lived in St Ives for a large part of his life, but had been bo

A FORMER photographer for The Hunts Post, Harry George Drewett, has died, aged 85.

Mr Drewett, known to his friends as Jock, had been suffering from lung cancer. His funeral was last week. He lived in St Ives for a large part of his life, but had been born to a poor family in Glasgow in 1922.

Tributes to him have been made by members of the Royal Ballet, members of whom he had photographed so many times.

His first job after leaving school was an insurance agent for Prudential. At 18, he joined the RAF and became a navigator, serving throughout the Second World War and flying 63 missions. He served with the Pathfinders and was proud of having taken part in the Berlin airlift.

On leaving the RAF at Wyton, he made his home in St Ives and during the 1950s and 1960s, worked as a freelance photographer for The Hunts Post.

Though he had left the air force after the war, he had continued flying and after leaving St Ives worked on aerial photography for geological surveys and mapping.

Most Read

While working for the Wildlife Trust, he was a volunteer at nature reserves and on one occasion, brought back a lion cub for London Zoo, travelling on the plane with the animal on his lap.

Mr Drewett had a life-long love of ballet. After he became a professional photographer he worked for the Royal Ballet. He used to go to a performance every week, sitting in the front row and ignoring the "no photography" rule. He was also a talented artist and a founder member of the Guild of Aviation Artists.

He was a champion of the world of theatre in St Ives and kept in touch with his friends in the town years after he had left.

Julia Briars-Filby, who was photographed as a girl by Mr Drewett to mark the celebrations in St Ives for the Festival of Britain in 1953, said: "He will be missed by the ballet world. He was a very likeable person, very independent but everybody knew Jock. He always came back to St Ives after he left us. He would just walk in and everyone would say 'Jock's here!'".

A notice about Jock's death has been put up at Covent Garden and a memorial service is being arranged to be held in London in May. It is being organised by his friends, the prima ballerina Doreen Wells and the artist David Shepherd whom he met in Africa.

Jock remained active all his life. When he was diagnosed with cancer and emphysema he rejected conventional treatments, choosing cryogenic surgery in the hope that it would benefit people in the future.

He spent the last years of his life in Borehamwood, Hertfordshire. He died on January 6. His funeral was on Tuesday, January 22, at West Herts Crematorium.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter