Father filled with talent and love

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THE FAMILY of Hugh Graham have paid tribute to an ‘intelligent, loving and generous’ husband, father and grandfather.

The Selsey resident passed away on October 9, leaving wife Marjorie, daughter Zoe, son John and grandchildren Jake, Sammie, Daniel and Callum.

His funeral will be held at noon at St Peter’s Church, Selsey, on October 31. All will be welcome.

His son John gave him the following tribute:

Jake Graham, his grandson, said when asked to contribute to this “I wouldn’t know where to start. I don’t know how to do justice to the incredible help and support he gave me over the years. It would take a ten thousand word essay for me to even scratch the surface”. The whole family feels that way. His wife Marjorie, his daughter Zoe, me and his grandchildren Jake, Sammie, Daniel and Callum. I will attempt the impossible.

Although this piece is for dad, it is impossible not to include mum when describing his incredible life. She is such a big part of him and they were inseparable. She is his heart.

Dad served with distinction in the parachute regiment in Cyprus and the Middle East and then began his career in Fleet St. He developed skills as a photographer that allowed him to deliver both copy and photographs and worked his way up, writing for National papers in the UK, Sydney and Johannesburg.

Dad ended up as the editor for the Daily Sketch, which was the broadsheet name for The Sun prior to the transition to the tabloid format. This transition was one of a series of events that compelled dad to leave Fleet St and work as a freelance photo-journalist instead of becoming a tabloid journalist.

Dad met and married the love of his life Marjorie Graham in 1965. Marj worked in television and they knew as soon as their lifelong friend Nick Hague introduced them that they wanted to be together for the rest of their lives. They had two children, Zoe and John. Dad said to me this year that he loved mum more today than on the day he married her. They were an amazing couple. Strong, hard-working, intelligent, opinionated, loving, kind and generous. They weathered many storms over the years and came through each stronger. Mum and Dad provided a stable loving family home for over forty years, giving stability and a home to not only their children, but their grandchildren too and often other people who needed it. Dad was a big part of the community and loved living in Selsey.

On leaving Fleet St, Dad formed his marketing company Polygon with his great friend and artistic visionary Gil Batley who coined his nickname of “Huge”. Dad was 6’4”.

At this time dad overcame a drink problem that had developed during his time in Fleet St, in doing so he found God and his deep-seated Christianity began at this point. He was a committed member of Chichester Christian Fellowship where he developed the life-long friends Richard and Sally Worthing-Davis, Brian and Anne Clarke, Tony and Lydia Hollis; and Bill and Anita Lander.

Mum and Dad then joined East Beach Evangelical Church where they lived in Selsey, where he became a leader and regularly gave sermons. I can picture him clearly singing hymns in his own inimitable style, making up for his lack of pitch recognition or talent with volume and enthusiasm.

Mum and Dad firmly believed in putting their Christian beliefs where their mouth is and opened their home to recovering addicts.

Dad decided a change was necessary from the hard- drinking world of marketing and returned to his first love of photo-journalism and wrote for national and local papers including the Chichester Observer and other magazines.

Mum and Dad not only provided a lovely warm home to the children, but they both generated the work as free-lances in their respective industries to put both children through private schools and take memorable family holidays. Dad particularly loved the holiday home in the Scottish Highlands above Aviemore belonging to my godfather Tom Corbett.

During his time as a photo-journalist Dad, together with George Abel, invented the birdman rally for The Selsey Parish Council as a method of stimulating tourism.

He also in a stunning demonstration of love and integrity turned down the role of communication officer for the local council and the opportunity for a place in the local nuclear bunker at the height of the cold war as his wife and kids were not included. He would rather have died with his family.

Dad took a number of qualifications with various academic institutions including a BA, 2 MAs and a PHD. He wrote “Saved and Sober.” “Light in the Dark” and “Dambusters Away”.

At this time he began teaching photography also journalism at Universities in Chichester, Farnham and Southampton.

After taking his incredible photos at friend’s weddings, Dad decided to set up his own wedding photography business moments, called “MOMENTS”. He ran this successfully for many years with his great friend Giles Babbidge and another colleague Robin Cook. He was always happy to pass on his knowledge and experience to others. The compliments for the incredible photos he took are still flooding in, people have memories of how he made their family wedding a happy affair still remembered.

In his recent years he began work with Selsey Internet Radio and contributed his vast experience and drive to the project. He contributed regularly to Selsey Life the local community magazine.

He loved the family above all else. He was a man of words and pictures. He was an academic. He was a dog person.

His beloved rescue Alsatian Jed, died a few years ago, so he was happy to share my Alsatian, Spike. Spike was actually with him when he died and would not leave his side.

Dad was a man of integrity and a lover of tea. He was happy to make time for everyone and had a wicked sense of humour. We miss his booming laugh and the twinkle in his eye every day.