A RENOWNED local photographer and “true gentleman” has died aged 93.

Albert Bale was a founding member of the Walthamstow and District Photographic Society for over 60 years and also set up the Walthamstow Amateur Cinevideo Club (WACC) in 1947.

He turned an early fascination with photography into a successful career and photographed royalty, movie stars and top models.

He worked for news agency Reuters and was also employed as the staff photographer for the Hawker Siddley company.

The club’s secretary, Wally Kilmartin, said: “He was a chap that everybody looked up to for his ability in photography and he was a genuine gentleman.

“He didn’t mess around taking hundreds of shots, he was a one-shot man and each one he had to make perfect.”

An expert in the darkroom, Mr Kilmartin said Mr Bale could transform a bad photograph.

“He took photos of the girls at Hawker Siddley, when he worked on the photos he made them look ten years younger. They loved him,” he added.

Mr Bale was a keen jazz guitarist and played in a notable Army orchestra during World War Two. He also played alongside musicians including Johnny Dankwood and Freddy Randal.

His main passion was his wife, Doris, who he married a week before World War Two began and spent nearly 70 years with.

They had met on a blind date in 1937, when Albert made a lasting first impression by leaping from the front seat of a sports car, without opening the door. Doris was a pianist and they formed a jazz band together after the war. They had one daughter, Susie.

Mr Kilmartin, who knew Mr Bale for nearly 40 years said he was “determined to take an exit” after Doris died in July last year.

“My wife and I invited him to our house for Christmas and he said he couldn’t come because he didn’t want to eat. I think he starved himself into submission,” he said.

“He was a good man and we shall miss him.”

A memorial to Mr Bale, who died on January 3, will be held at St Mary’s Church, Church End, on January 22 at 1.30pm. A wake will follow at The Welcome Centre.