A FORMER Craven Herald photographer who made countless friends through his award-winning profession, has died aged 92.

Stephen Judge sadly lost his battle with cancer recently, shortly before his 93rd birthday.

He was a great lover of life, the Dales, the Lake District Fells and his home town of Skipton.

As a national award-winning wedding photographer he served to record the everlasting memories for countless married couples from his base at his camera and photographic shop in Sackville Street.

For many years he was the Craven Herald newspaper’s photographer under then editor, the late Jack Heald, capturing expert shots for publishing.

In the course of gathering information and photographs for news articles, he rubbed shoulders with BBC TV presenters such as Harry Gration and Peter Levy, and also the cast of ‘Monty Python’ - Michael Palin, Graham Chapman, Terry Jones, Eric Idle and John Cleese - when they were filming in the area.

Stephen’s grandfather, William Lang Judge, was Baptist Minister of Skipton for 33 years until his retirement in 1911. His service is commemorated by a marble plaque inside Skipton Baptist Church and on the memorial stone, unveiled by him in 1899, on the outside wall of the church.

Stephen’s father and uncle served as choirmaster and organist, respectively.

Stephen recounted that while a pupil of Ermysted’s Grammar School, he had to attend church carrying his gas mask (during WWII).

Stephen was among the early motorcycle enthusiasts, owning a 1937 Ariel Red Hunter 500.

He was one of the area’s few motorcyclists to have managed the ‘ton’ in the days before speed limits were introduced on unclassified roads - if the notoriously inaccurate speedometers of the day are to be believed.

And this was in the days before safety crash helmets were mandatory.

Steven leaves behind his wife Marjorie, sons Nigel and Julian, and granddaughter Amy.