Friday 23rd April – Tears and cheers . .

Friday 23rd was a strange day. A call from the photo agency said simply..”funeral in Totton at 1300, cruise liner in Southampton at 1630 – can you cover both ?”

The funeral was for mother and daughter murder victims, 24 year old Stephanie Bellinger and her eight month old daughter Lilli, who had been stabbed to death by Ms Bellinger’s partner on February 27th. The press corp stayed at a respectful distance as the hearse arrived bearing a single pink coffin. Very quiet. Very dignified. Very sad.

No decent 3G signal so I had to abandon plans to transmit the pictures back from the car and drive 33 miles back to the agency to download my cards. This was a nuisance, but by the time I left at 3.15 my shots were already up on the live wire feed. Quick stop for a sandwich and then back down to Southampton Docks to await the arrival of Celebrity Eclipse, the cruise liner bringing stranded Brits back from Bilbao. Cruise PR people very sweet but wouldn’t allow any of us shoreside to shoot. Much grumbling ensued then 10 ‘togs headed off in different directions looking for vantage points. I found a bulldozer which provided some convenient extra height for a good shot of the ship, before spotting a very excited husband talking on the phone and waving to his wife on board – shot two in the can.
Ship alongside and the task of shooting directly up and into the sun at waving passengers 6o feet above us. Knocked off a few frames but nothing newsworthy. Last shots of the day were outside the Arrivals area were we were able to catch the joy and excitement of those who had finally got home – a complete contrast to the earlier events of the day.