Tributes to former Halifax Courier photographer Ian Swift who has died aged 74

Former Halifax photographer Ian Swift
Former Halifax photographer Ian Swift

Former Halifax Courier chief photographer, Ian Swift, has died at Overgate Hospice, Elland, after a short illness.

Ian worked on the Halifax paper from 1973 until 2009, when he took early retirement to care for his late wife, Pat, a former editor of the "Hebden Bridge Times," and the "Todmorden News."

The 74-year-old was a familiar sight at local sports events, weddings, galas and business and social functions throughout Calderdale and also took aerial photographs for local newspapers. He covered many of the major local news stories during his career.

He had been a member of Ryburn Golf Club for many years and also enjoyed football and Grand Prix motor sport.

Ian was born in Halifax and emigrated to Australia with his family when he was five, under the resettlement scheme for "£10 Poms".

He returned to England on his 17th birthday, worked as a trainee signalman at Halifax station and then joined the Duke of Wellington's Regiment, which was then based at Wellesley Park. He was discharged in 1964 with a perforated ear-drum.

Ian worked for a while as a cutter and welder at Pullman Steel, in Horton Street, Halifax, before training as a photographer in 1969 and landing a job with the "Spenborough Guardian," at Cleckheaton.

Ian and his family lived for 30 years in a house he built at Sowerby before moving to Woodlesford, Pellon.

His son, Richard, still lives in Sowerby Bridge, and his daughter, Vicky, resides in Australia.

He also leaves grandchildren Daniel, Thomas, Ryan and Megan, and a great-granddaughter, Aria.

Former "Courier" editor, Edward Riley, described Ian as a friend and colleague who, over nearly four decades, together with his late wife, epitomised regional journalism at its best.
"He was a dedicated and loyal photo journalist whose first thought was to do a thorough and professional job, often under trying circumstances," he said.

TRIBUTES from Twitter

Elaine Jinks-Turner: "So sad to hear about the passing of former @HXCourier #tog Ian Swift. I have nothing but fond memories of him. He was absolutely a true gentleman and was such a massive help to me when I started out as a cub reporter all those years ago. RIP Ian

Bruce Fitzgerald: "Many people of #Calderdale will have known photographer Ian Swift from the @HXCourier, it's sad news to hear of his passing, a true gentleman, legend and mentor to me. RIP Ian."

John Greenwood: "Nothing but fond memories of Ian, a colleague and friend for many years, condolences to Vicki, Richard and the family."