Photographing former PM Tony Blair

FORMER Prime Minister Tony Blair is probably not as adored by the nation as he once was, but I must admit it was a first for me when Western Morning News editor Barrie Williams told me in the morning we had an exclusive 15-minute interview and pictures with the PM.

We were covering the PM’s visit to Cornwall where he was being bombarded with all things rural, especially from the farming community.

I was staying at the hotel being used by the media because it was right opposite the PM’s hotel. It was around midnight when someone shouted into the bar that the Irish PM Bertie Ahern was flying in for emergency talks with Tony Blair.

There was a mad rush to get cameras together and across the road to the hotel. It was a disaster for most of the snappers because the spot where we were going to photograph the two PM’s was right next to the indoor swimming pool, and those who had put their cameras and lenses in the boot of their car resulting in cold cameras were instantly covered in condensation rendering them totally useless.

I was one of just a couple of snappers who had kept their kit by my side in the bar. Panic over as Bertie Ahern left the hotel.

The next morning three of us had an interview with the PM at 8am; editor Barrie Williams, news editor Jason Clarke and myself, along with Alastair Campbell who was asked by the PM to “sort out a cup of tea please, Alastair”.

I was the only one who didn’t get a cuppa with the British PM but I was surprised when he put his leather soled feet on the table. Good job my nan wasn’t there, he would have got a clip around the ear and told to get his feet off the table!

Woodmead Halls

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