Tribute to former Observer photographer

Arthur Hambleton with his wife, Jeanne
Arthur Hambleton with his wife, Jeanne

THE life of a man who spent most of his life behind a camera lens has been celebrated.

Arthur Hambleton died suddenly on November 25 after a suspected heart attack.

Friends, family and colleagues gathered at the Chichester Park Hotel on December 11 to share their memories of the former Observer freelance photographer.

Arthur, husband of Jeanne Hambleton and father of three children, was remembered by those who made the news in the 17 years he worked in the Manhood area photographing golden weddings, news stories, sport and drama.

Trained as a chemical engineer, his first love was always photography.

He spent most of his life getting the right shot, helping to solve other people’s photographic problems and running Wilsons hardware shop, in East Wittering, affectionately known by locals as Aladdin’s Cave as it stocked everything.

Familiar with photographing celebrities and royalty as a Fleet Street photographer, he was never phased when actors or other celebrities visited his shop.

“He strived to have a solution to everyone’s problem,” said Jeanne. “One of his memorable customers in the 80s was USA film star Ingrid Bergman who was appearing at the Chichester Festival Theatre.

“She had borrowed a local cycle and her trousers were covered in cycle oil.

“She asked for cycle clips but the last pair had been sold earlier. Not wanting to be beaten he gently secured the bottom of her trousers with string and sent her safely on her way.”

Arthur was born in Normanton, Yorkshire and moved to Essex with his family aged three.

He met his future wife, Jeanne, while working as a press photographer on the same newspaper in Romford.

He opened a chain of three photographic shops before making a big career change in 1970, moving the family to the Witterings and taking over Wilsons hardware store.

Arthur fully embraced the technological age, eventually becoming the Mac consultant for Beaulieu.

When Jeanne was diagnosed with fibromyalgia in 2002 he worked with her to raise funds for fibromyalgia research. In 2010, the couple became founder members of the now international Fibromyalgia Conference, supported by Folly Pogs Fibromyalgia Research.

His last pictures were photographs of the newest member of the family – a baby grandson. He also spent hours with his two other young grandsons teaching them about Macs.