Farewell to popular photographer

Former Courier photographer Frank Cooper. He mocked up a pic of a proposed block of flats in the Parade. Ref: 08MAR98
Former Courier photographer Frank Cooper. He mocked up a pic of a proposed block of flats in the Parade. Ref: 08MAR98

Photographer Frank Cooper, who worked for Leamington-based Heart of England Newspapers for more than 30 years, has died.

He passed away at a nursing home in Balsall Common, two days after his 96th birthday, and is survived by his wife of more than 50 years Mair, a former nurse, and son Robert.

Mr Cooper’s long service taking photographs for the Leamington Courier, Leamington Morning News, Warwick Advertiser and Kenilworth Weekly News, established him as one of the best-known figures in local newspaper journalism.

He was a popular character, with a keen sense of humour, whose expertise behind the camera - a craft he was encouraged by his father to take up while a boy in his native Stoke-on-Trent - won him a wide circle of friends, including members of the Leamington Photographic Society, of which he was a leading member.

Former Courier and Morning News editor Martin Lawson said: “Not only was Frank a real professional who gave many years of skilled and dedicated service to the Courier and its associated titles, he was an engaging character who brought wit and wisdom to the team.

“He will be fondly remembered by many who worked with him in the Leamington newsroom, along with countless scores of people he met and photographed across the circulation area and wider community.”

Mr Cooper, who worked in Manchester and London before settling in Mid-Warwickshire, enlisted in the Army at the outbreak of the Second World War, and his service with the Royal Signals took him to North Africa where he was at the siege of Tobruk and for a while was attached to the Long Range Desert Force.

The invasion of Sicily and Italy followed and after the Battle of Monte Cassino, he returned to the UK to take part in D-Day.

He joined Heart of England Newspapers in 1951 where, as chief photographer, he was to remain until his retirement in 1986.

Mr Cooper and his wife made their home in Kenilworth for around 40 years and returned to the town earlier this year after a decade in Warwick.

There will be a family funeral on Wednesday, December 17, followed by a service of thanksgiving at the Methodist Church in Priory Road, Kenilworth, at 11.30 am.