Tributes have been paid to former Dorset Echo photographer Bruce Litson who has died following a short illness.

He passed away in Dorset County Hospital last Wednesday, aged 53.

Bruce attended Hardye’s School in Dorchester before studying photography and film production at Bournemouth and Poole College of Art.

He became a member of the Institute of Incorporated Photogra-phers and moved to London to work with a leading commercial photographer.

However, his heart was always in Dorset and he returned to the county with the aim of exhibiting his own work.

He got a job working for the now-defunct Dorset County Post and had numerous photographs published in national newspapers and magazines and continued to hold exhibitions.

Bruce was also a hugely talented bass guitarist in a number of bands in the Weymouth and Dorchester area throughout the 70s, 80s and 90s.

He was a founder member of Banty Rooster while still a sixth former at Hardye’s School in 1976 and went on to play with Volt Affection, My God We’ve Created a Monster, Dream Home Collapses and French Girl Frightened By A Man, some of whose names were inspired by Echo headlines.

Former Echo editor Mike Woods was among those who paid tribute.

He said: “He had great artistic talent in doing atmospheric pictures with beautiful composition alongside everyday, run-of-the-mill newspaper event photographs.

“His talent was rewarded when Dorset County Museum staged an exhibition of his work which covered the whole spectrum.

“It was just so, so tragic when I heard he had died.”

Dorset Echo deputy editor Diarmuid MacDonagh worked with Bruce for many years.

He said: “In newspapers we deal in words every day but sometimes it is nigh on impossible to find the right ones to articulate the essence of a person; especially a great friend.

“Bruce was simply the most talented photographer I have worked with but also, perhaps, one of the most complex of people.

“Going on the most mundane of assignments with Bruce had the potential to turn into the most unexpected of adventures.

“We were chased by criminals, cheered by OAPs when Bruce staged an impromptu concert at their Christmas party and shouted at by the news editor for arriving back in the office late (again). But we always made deadline and we never stopped laughing.

“He would often disappear from my side as I sought out a story. While other photographers would line up and take the same shot Bruce would reappear on top of a wall, the roof of a building or from the undergrowth.

“And he always got the picture nobody else had contemplated; the one that frankly, nobody else had the ‘eye’ to see.

“It was always difficult trying to find the words to match Bruce’s pictures.

“No matter how much I tried to polish the prose it was invariably outshone by the brilliance of Bruce’s photographs. He also had an immense charm and the charisma to match his talent.

“He could exasperate beyond reason but the refrain I have heard most since his passing, that ‘Everybody loved Bruce’, was enough to extract him from most difficulties.”

Sadly, his life never ran as smoothly as he or those closest to him would have wished. Bruce didn’t do mundane or ordinary and the mundane or ordinary never alighted upon Bruce.

He tragically lost his baby daughter Beth to cot death and more recently his beloved partner Helen to cancer.

He was endlessly restless in life but it is hoped that he can now find the peace rarely afforded him in recent times.