IT was one of Ilkley resident Paul Anning’s favourite stories. After taking a few days off work from his camera shop with a common cold, followed by his annual two week holiday in Turkey with his wife Lisa - Paul, a familiar figure around the town had been “missing” for three weeks and rumours of his demise began to circulate. On his return from his holiday Paul picked up on the stories and with his typical humour posed up for a picture outside his shop on Cunliffe Road to accompany a Gazette article containing the famous Mark Twain quote “Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated”. Sadly Paul passed away on 17th May 2020 aged 76

Tony Gilroy a friend of nearly 50 years paid tribute to Paul. “Paul Anning was one of natures true gentlemen and a much respected figure in the town. Everybody knew Paul through his camera shop, but he was born and raised in Ilkley and he always had the town’s interests very much at heart and did a huge amount of often unseen work in the community. It’s largely thanks to Paul that The Ilkley Bandstand on The Grove exists at all. Paul made the idea a reality and through Ilkley’s two Rotary Clubs the money was raised. It became Ilkley’s Millenium project and opened in 2001. Paul chaired the management committee from its inception and helped make it the wonderful place it continues to be today for residents and visitors alike.”

It was through Annings Camera shop that Paul became so well known and it continues to thrive under the ownership of David Witt who started working with Paul nearly 40 yrs ago.

“The business was started by Paul’s father Albert Anning on The Grove, it moved to it’s current location on Cunliffe Road in 1960 and with Paul at the helm became a very successful photography store. In 1982 Paul had the vision to realise the potential of in house film processing, and print making, a revolution at the time. I joined the business to run the lab which became very busy indeed and we also became a main Professional Nikon Agent adding another string to the business.

“Paul seemed to know everybody in Ilkley and had a wide circle of business and social contacts which is so important to local businesses. Customers appreciated and trusted Paul’s integrity and the business built up a great rapport with all his clients many of whom still support the shop today. I took over the business six years ago but Paul stayed on working in the shop and fully retired early this March. Paul’s passing will leave a great void at the camera shop, and the town in general but the business will continue and his name will always be above the door.”

Paul Anning born in Ilkley in 1943 is survived by his wife and best friend Lisa and his beloved daughter Sophie. Paul’s funeral takes place next week on Tuesday 2nd June. The cortege will drive along The Grove, passing The Bandstand at around 10.15am providing an opportunity for his many friends in the town to stand along The Grove and pay their respects.