Tributes to former Observer snapper

Jim Izzard
Jim Izzard

A grieving widow has paid tribute to those who fought to save her husband’s life after he collapsed at work.

Former Bexhill Observer freelance photographer Jim Izzard was serving a customer at Hailsham

Camera Centre on Tuesday, April 15. The customer applied resuscitation technique until

paramedics arrived.

Police drove Jim’s wife, Carrie, to the Royal Sussex County Hospital at Brighton where, despite the efforts to save him, Jim died of a coronary thrombosis.

He was 47.

Since Carrie put the news of Jim’s death on Facebook, tributes have been pouring in to a

character who will be remembered for his passion for photography, motorcycles and aircraft, his compassion for those less fortunate than himself, his love of animals and an ever-present sense of humour.

Jim was born and brought up in Sidley, the son of Rodney and Marion Izzard.

He attended Bexhill High School and began reading Law at Canterbury University before reverting to his first-love – photography.

He had undertaken work with his namesake, the comedian Eddie Izzard, and with comedian Jo Brand.

When Princess Diana dismissed others covering the send-off for a rally car team from a regiment of which she was colonel-in-chief,

Jim was the only photographer she allowed to stay and complete the assignment.

Jim was fond of target shooting and had competed at moto-cross.

Jim freelanced for the Bexhill Observer in the Nineties. Former Observer deputy editor John Dowling writes: “Jim was in many ways the ideal freelance photographer.

“He had a uniquely cheerful and carefree way of approaching every assignment, whether it was run-of-the-mill or completely off-the-wall.

“I particularly recall chasing over countless fields at Sidley with the faithful and uncomplaining

Jim in tow one summer’s evening as we endeavoured to keep pace with a police man-hunt.

“On another occasion, Jim blithely overcame by means of his knowledge of the local back-roads the difficulties of police road-blocks following a serious accident which closed the A259 at Barnhorn Road.

“Within a commendably short space of time he was at my side, camera at the ready.

“Whatever the challenge, Jim could be relied on to turn in top-class press photographs – and all done with that ever-present grin for behind the smile was consummate professionalism.

“We shared a passion for aviation history. Jim had worked with a West Sussex enthusiast whose expertise was in recovering wrecked World War II aircraft from Eastern Front battlefields and restoring them.

“Jim and I often discussed a day trip to look over the workshops. Alas, between two busy lives we never found the time.

“Jim took such joy in his photography and had such a zest for life that it seems impossible that one should be writing his obituary.”

Friends from many walks of life are expected at Jim’s funeral at Eastbourne Crematorium

on Tuesday, April 29 at 11.30am.

Donations in lieu of flowers may be made via Mummery’s undertakers to St Michael’s Hospice or Barby Keel’s Animal Sanctuary.

Carrie said this week: “I can’t thank everyone enough for what they did for Jim.

“The customer in the shop was a Coastguard who Jim with helping with photographs for his book.

“He kept Jim going with resuscitation until the paramedics arrived.

They worked hard on Jim and I gather that Hailsham High Street was blocked for a long time as a result.

“I followed behind the ambulance in a police car.

“Everyone did what they could for him. I felt so well supported throughout.

“I just want him to be remembered for the nice, kind, gentleman he was. He never pre-judged anyone.

“He would accept people for what they were.”

Jim had been helping Carrie build up her business, The Antiques and Collectors’ Shop in

Ninfield Road, Sidley, buying and selling cameras from the premises.

Carrie said: “Obviously, being a Sidley boy he wanted us to build up our business there.”

Jim’s father said: “He’d had a camera in his hands ever since he was old enough to hold one. I think my mum bought him a little Minolta to get him started.

“Even though he had expensive camera equipment, he was still experimenting with things like pin-hole cameras and the early Daguerrotype technique.”

Jim was previously manager of the MXV camera centre in Uckfield.