Newmarket photographer Geoffrey Pieters has died aged 74 – we look back at his life and work
Geoffrey Pieters, one of Suffolk News' sister paper the Newmarket Journal’s photographers for more that 25 years, died at his home in Freckenham on Friday. He was 74.
Geoffrey was not only a talented lens man but also possessed an incredible local knowledge of places and people and had a great eye for a news picture.
He had established a reputation as a photographer long before linking up with the Journal. He did work for national newspapers, including Page 3 pin-ups for The Sun, and racing news shots for the Racing Post, covered motorsport, and later provided pictures for magazines including Farmers’ Weekly and Horse and Hound.
Born in Ireland, where he spent a lot of his childhood, his parents were both talented riders and he was brought up with horses, so it wasn’t surprising that he later gravitated towards Newmarket.
He, and his late wife Louise, were well known in Freckenham where they lived first at The Old School House and later at Hillside Farm.
Sandie Geddes, who edited Freckenham Past and Present, a celebration of village life produced to mark the Millennium for which Geoffrey provided many of the photographs said: “I know he was fascinated with the distant past, and archaeology. He and Louise hosted Freckenham’s Time Team Big Dig at Hillside Farm and he wrote a pamphlet on the Roman hoard found at Worlington.”
After Louise died in 2011 Geoffrey struggled to deal with his loss but eventually he carried on with his Journal work which saw him covering every aspect of local news, from village fetes and fairs to Royal visits and major race meetings.
Journal content editor Alison Hayes said: “Geoffrey once joked that one day I would have to write his obituary and that I better make a good job of it.
"I was lucky enough to count him as a loyal friend, as well as a work colleague.
"He loved racing and took some great shots over the years of some of the best horses and jockeys in the world but, most of all, he loved local news and had a nose for a good story.
“Patience wasn’t always his strong suit, he always said photographing groups of people was like herding cats but he knew exactly what image he wanted to get and made sure he got it.
"His friend, Gail Greenway, has been marvellous caring for him throughout the past seven months and he died, where he wanted to be, in the home that he loved.
"I once asked him how he would like to be remembered and he said: ‘As a bloody good photographer and a pretty nice bloke.’ That’s certainly how I will always think of him.”