‘Never a dull moment in Hugh’s world’

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HUGH Graham, a well-known photographer, writer and broadcaster from Selsey, passed away on October 9.

Tributes from around the community, have been paid.

Richard Lamdin, of East Beach Church, in Selsey, said: Like many, East Beach Church is reeling from the sudden loss of Hugh Graham.

For many years, Hugh had been a part of our church, and in recent years, he has served as a leader, majoring on the publicity, article writing, teaching as well as being a ‘Big Ideas’ man.

What are we going to miss most? A tough question indeed! His wit & charm were endearing; the ability to make you think out of the box as you bounced around ideas & tried to find solutions; the twinkle in his eye as he presented an idea that he anticipated would get a reaction!; his knack of knowing when someone needed help, and sorting that help for them; his friendship; the heart he had for Selsey, together with the concern for the youth of our community; his wide range of life experiences, that put any situation into perspective; larger than life (in many ways) character that is irreplaceable. Above all though, it was

Hugh’s single minded recognition that Jesus Christ loved him and he wanted others to also experience the reality of a relationship with Jesus.Hugh is at peace now. We know without a shadow of doubt, that he has gone home to be with Jesus, and East Beach Church are grateful for the time we had Hugh with us.

Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Marjorie and their family.

Pat Read of Selsey Life:

I was introduced to Hugh in 1971 shortly after I moved to Selsey. He was looking for a Secretary, and I was looking for secretarial work, so began a forty three year roller-coaster journey in “Hugh’s World”, which changed my life. I was 25 and had come from a large city to sleepy Selsey, which in those days was full of characters, where almost everyone knew everyone else, and working with Hugh in the High Street had never a dull moment.

In those days we rented an office above Weltax Taxis, which is now Retro Treats sweet shop. Hugh ran a small Public Relations office, employing three people and providing publicity for a few local businesses and he was never short of ideas. I remember the local bakery in those days became very successful in sending croissants over to France, helped greatly by publicity provided by Hugh, who would have been successful in sending coals to Newcastle if asked! One day when asked by

The Lions, I believe, for ideas on fund-raising, Hugh came up with the idea of a competition to see how far someone could fly from the lifeboat pier. After first thinking he was joking, The Selsey Birdman Rally was formed and each summer people arrived in their droves, dressed as chickens or other birds of a feather, but all with wings attached in various forms. After a time the event was moved to Bognor which had a much bigger pier, and then to Worthing, by which time it was The International Birdman Rally and drew competitors from all over the world. Other examples of Hugh’s enthusiasm and ideas are too numerous to mention here, but could fill a book.

Hugh started off as a journalist in Fleet Street and knew many people in journalism and advertising.

He was able to secure some large contracts which enabled us to move to more salubrious premises in The Pallants in Chichester. One of these clients was a carpet company based in Bradford. We made a film to promote their products and Hugh casually asked me to get a camel from somewhere as he was planning on carpeting the outside of one of the elegant residences in Chichester with red carpet and the camel would add interest and promote durability. This sort of request was by no means rare in Hugh’s World and the camel was duly delivered and the short advertising film a success, but caused some raised eyebrows in North Pallant! When asked to do the publicity for a new product coming on the market which was basically tinned tuna fish, Hugh managed to glamorise a tin of tuna and arranged an unveiling in a top hotel in London, giving it the alternative and more interesting name of tunny and providing all the guest journalists with delicious tuna dishes of every description. They all wrote glowing reports. After the heady days of publicity and advertising, there was a downturn due to recession and we came back to Selsey, and Hugh concentrated on work mainly as a photo-journalist. Over the years Hugh wrote and had published literally hundreds of articles, accompanied by his brilliant photographs, in the Sunday colour supplements and many monthly publications from finance to food. If he saw something of interest, he’d write about it, sometimes bringing his car to a screeching halt whenever something caught his eye. Be it a West Sussex vineyard, restoration of an old windmill, falconry, or playing a big part in the publicity of the restoration of Chichester

Cathedral in the eighties, you name it and Hugh has written about it, and very rarely were they not published. He also reported for The Chichester Observer and in more recent years he built up a very successful wedding photography business.

Hugh was a writer, a wordsmith and a man of wit. His enthusiasm could sometimes boil over and he could also be exasperating at times, but then when he made you laugh, which he did most of the time, you could forgive anything. He was a good friend, someone who was always there for his friends, a huge character and will be greatly missed by myself and many other people. There could be no one else to fill the gap he has left – he was a one off.

Local photographer Robin Cook, said: “I worked with Hugh on a number of jobs, never a dull moment, never lost for words, he once told me, “the one thing you can’t Photoshop is experience””