Les Millar, who has been a Star photographer for 16 years, has left us to become a public relations and commercial photographer.

Many of Les's Star colleagues gathered this week to wish him farewell, as seen in our picture above.

These days most people enter journalism via the route of college and university media courses, but Les was an old-fashioned fire-engine chaser long before he became a full time photographer.

While working as a school caretaker, Les had a dream of becoming a photo journalist. In his spare time he literally chased fire engines and emergency vehicles on their way to blazes and crashes and gradually his pictures began to be used occasionally by local papers.

Enthusiasm made up for a lack of formal training and Les was taken on by David Searchfield, another well known local freelance photographer.

From around 1986 David and Les worked with Star editor Alan Franklin and his team of top freelance journalists to create the paper that is the number one journal locally.

Out were pictures of cheque presentations and "firing squad" lines of people. In were close ups from unusual angles of people with interesting stories, particularly involving children.

I would like to thank Les for his years of service, particularly since 1990 when he took on the job of providing nearly all our news pictures.

Now his expertise is available to companies over a wider area and he is teaming up with experienced freelance journalists to provide a full range of picture and public relations services.

Contact Les on 01252 520868 or via his website, www.lesmillar.com