FORMER colleagues of a much-loved newspaper photographer were among the congregation at his funeral, writes Sue Bradley.

Richard Besent, known as Dick, worked for the Gazette, Stroud News & Journal and The Citizen and Gloucester Journal during his long career behind the camera.

His skill in capturing beautiful photographs, alongside an ability to command a room or adopt a gentle approach towards people experiencing traumatic times in their lives, earned him deep respect from his colleagues.

Dick, who died at the beginning of November at the age of 75, was born in Reading but grew up on a farm in Gloucestershire.

His love of photography emerged during his youth, alongside his love of motorsport, and he and his pal Ted Walker would often cycle from Dursley to the Castle Combe Circuit near Chippenham to watch and record the racing, before returning home to develop images in a makeshift darkroom in an airing cupboard.

Dick studied photography at Gloucester Art College before joining the Gazette and the SNJ during the 1960s and going on to work there for around a decade.

His most memorable images from that time included the moment a hang glider pilot crashed into a crowd of spectators watching the National Hang Gliding Championships on Cam Long Down.

Dick went on to become a respected member of The Citizen’s photography team, often acting as a mentor to younger colleagues.

In his spare time, he volunteered at The Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum in Gloucester, skilfully making images of items in its collection and covering meetings, exhibitions and other special events, and continued to enjoy and record motorsport, taking photos at Castle Combe, Shelsley Walsh, Silverstone and the Prescott Hill Climb near Cheltenham.

Dick will be remembered as a superb cameraman. He was unassuming, kind and caring; a real gentleman.

He leaves his widow, Lorraine, and son Matthew; he had a second son, Oliver, who died in childhood.

Dick’s funeral took place at St Andrew’s Church in Churchdown.