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‘Memories are all good ones’ - Tribute to former EDP freelance photographer

PUBLISHED: 10:30 02 July 2018 | UPDATED: 11:34 02 July 2018

John and Elaine Gittens from King's Lynn. Picture: John Gittens

John and Elaine Gittens from King's Lynn. Picture: John Gittens

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A wife pays tribute to Norfolk photographer John Gittens, who died of a heart attack aged 84.

A ship stuck on the River Ouse Relief Channel at King's Lynn. Picture: John GittensA ship stuck on the River Ouse Relief Channel at King's Lynn. Picture: John Gittens

He captured the life of Norfolk during the 1950s and early 1960s and even submitted his work to the Eastern Daily Press.

Originally from King’s Lynn, Mr Gittens documented the lifestyle of local people and events shortly after the Second World War.

He captured the moment 23 unexploded bombs were detonated on the banks of the River Ouse and of crowds gathering outside the former Jermyns department store in the High Street.

J.E. Gittens in Norfolk Street, King's Lynn. Picture: John GittensJ.E. Gittens in Norfolk Street, King's Lynn. Picture: John Gittens

He showcased his collection of photographs in a studio in Norfolk Street, before he moved to California in 1962 with his wife Elaine.

“We had been married for 64 years, but had been together for 67,” said Mrs Gittens, 82.

“We had three children, twins Victoria and Lesley and then a third, Christine. When they were six and five, John decided he had enough of the wet and cold weather, he thought there had to be somewhere warmer and settled on California.”

Bombs exploding on the banks of the River Ouse Relief Channel. Picture: John GittensBombs exploding on the banks of the River Ouse Relief Channel. Picture: John Gittens

Mr Gittens worked for various newspapers and TV stations in Ventura and Santa Maria, doing mostly news photography as well as weddings and commercial work.

Mrs Gittens added: “John was very precise in his work, he enjoyed making the end product a quality one. It was much more involved then than it is now, he was not a point and shoot person and he spent hours getting it right.”

“He really enjoyed motor homing and especially if we travelled to the Alabama hills, located just outside of the town of Lone Pine, towards Northern CA.

Crowds gather outside Jermyns department store in King's Lynn High Street in 1961. Picture: John GittensCrowds gather outside Jermyns department store in King's Lynn High Street in 1961. Picture: John Gittens

“Many happy hours were spent there, taking photographs of the scenery and walking before he got unable to hike much, due to his arthritis.”
Mr Gittens died on May 17 of a heart attack, leaving behind his wife Elaine and his children Victoria, Lesley and Christine.

“He is sorely missed,” Mrs Gittens added. “At his request there were no services and we celebrated his life at the home of one of his daughters and said goodbye.

“His favourite pastimes were spent with family, at get-togethers and celebrations. Memories are all good ones and we have to rely on those now to carry on.”

View of King's Lynn from Greyfriear's Tower. Picture: John GittensView of King's Lynn from Greyfriear's Tower. Picture: John Gittens

Hunstanton Lido. Picture: John GittensHunstanton Lido. Picture: John Gittens

Inside the minister at a service with the Bishop of Norwich. Picture: John GittensInside the minister at a service with the Bishop of Norwich. Picture: John Gittens

Aerialists Margaret and Peter Brasnett on the Trapeze cutting their wedding cake. Picture: John GittensAerialists Margaret and Peter Brasnett on the Trapeze cutting their wedding cake. Picture: John Gittens

John Gittens photographed Jasper Barnes of Grimston on his 100th birthday and for each year thereafter. This picture shows Mr Barnes with his favourite reading material, a cowboy novel on his 105th birthday (his last). Picture: John GittensJohn Gittens photographed Jasper Barnes of Grimston on his 100th birthday and for each year thereafter. This picture shows Mr Barnes with his favourite reading material, a cowboy novel on his 105th birthday (his last). Picture: John Gittens

Ideal holiday contestants at Hunstanton swimming pool in the 1950's. Picture: John GittensIdeal holiday contestants at Hunstanton swimming pool in the 1950's. Picture: John Gittens

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