Tributes paid to 
‘Mr Blackpool’

Peter Emmett's photograph of The Beatles in Blackpool

Peter Emmett's photograph of The Beatles in Blackpool

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Tributes have been paid to a former Gazette photographer dubbed ‘Mr Blackpool’ .

Peter Emmett spent 50 years capturing life across the Fylde coast including images of famous faces ranging from Princess Diana to George Formby.

Former Gazette photographer Peter Emmett who has died

Former Gazette photographer Peter Emmett who has died

But his most talked about shot was one of the Beatles taken at the Opera House in 1964.

Determined to get the Tower in the picture, he persuaded the fab four to pose on a fire escape with the landmark behind them.

Peter, who lived in Blackpool with his wife Diane, died in Blackpool Victoria Hospital on Wednesday, aged 84, following heart surgery.

Born in Wimbledon in 1931, he moved to Blackpool aged 13 after his eldest brother Donald was stationed in the town as an instructor with the Royal Artillery.

After leaving school at 15, he started work in The Gazette’s printing department before becoming a messenger boy on the newspaper.

But before long he successfully applied to fill a vacancy in the photographic department and by 1948 was covering the FA Cup Final at Wembley when Blackpool played Manchester United.

It was the start of a career with the paper which would see him cover some of the biggest stories on the patch, and sometimes off it.

He was among the first media to arrive at the scene of the Lockerbie air crash in 1984.

Former colleagues today paid tribute to Peter.

Another former Gazette photographer Peter Owen said: “Everyone will say he was Mr Blackpool.

“He was very much admired by everyone, a real character.

“Peter was a lovely guy, he loved Blackpool and everywhere he went, he championed the town.

“He always convinced people, no matter what their opinion, that Blackpool was the Vegas of the North.”

Former tourism writer Craig Fleming added: “Was there anybody or anything in Blackpool that affable Peter Emmett didn’t know? That was a question I used to ask myself after arriving at The Gazette in 1972.

“Having no transport of my own I regularly travelled to jobs with photographers, and when a passenger in Peter’s car I usually knew everything about the people or places we were going to see long before we arrived.

“His local knowledge was second to none.”

Peter photographed Princess Diana during her visits to Trinity Hospice, and the Queen when she was here for the Royal Variety Performance at the Opera House in 1955, as well as celebrities including Shirley Bassey, Tom Jones and Engelbert Humperdinck.

Outside of work he was involved in the Round Table, Rotary and the 41 Club, and was a member of his local Neighbourhood Watch.

He was a skiing fan until the age of 65, and was due to go on a cruise holiday in January.

Diane said: “He loved dancing and music and this summer we went to the Neil Diamond concert at Bloomfield Road.

“He lived life to the full and will be missed by so many people.”

Peter leaves three daughters from a previous marriage, Barbara, Susan and Karen, two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. He also had a son, Steven, who died in 1976.

Funeral details are yet to be finalised.