Tributes have been paid to a gallery owner and former Lancaster Royal Grammar School pupil who was killed in a car crash near Settle.
Photographer Gary Fitch, 38, who ran the Three Peaks Gallery in the town, died after his blue Subaru Impreza collided with a stone wall on the B6479 at Stainforth village. Nobody else was in the vehicle.
Gary grew up on Abraham Heights in Lancaster, where his parents Roy and Christine still live, and attended Dallas Road Primary School and Lancaster Royal Grammar School.
He was formerly an assistant pro golfer at Morecambe Golf Club and built and worked on golf courses around the world having graduated with a first-class honours degree in sports turf agronomy.
But Gary, who lived at Town Head Way, Settle, then decided to pursue his dream career, combining his passion for the outdoors with his love of photography. He opened the Three Peaks Gallery in The Shambles at Settle’s Market Place in November 2011, selling stunning hand-printed framed photographs of local landscapes.
Gary was married and had three step-children – Nicholas, Emily and Louis. His wife Hazel had recently joined him at the gallery.
Speaking on behalf of Gary’s family, his only sister Rachel Fitch, who teaches at Lancaster Girls Grammar School, said: “Gary was a fantastic son, brother, husband and step-dad. Gary put his heart and soul into everything he did and he was very talented - we are so proud of everything he achieved. This is just such a tragic loss and we are absolutely devastated.”
Alison Marshall, of the Gallery on the Green in Settle, which recently exhibited Gary’s work, said: “I got to know Gary recently and really enjoyed working with him. He was very focussed on his work and he was able to take photos of views we had all seen before while still making them look different. His death is a big shock to us all.”
Gary’s funeral was due to take place today at Lancaster and Morecambe Crematorium. His family have requested that any donations should go to the Yorkshire Air Ambulance.
Witnesses to the fatal accident, at 8am on Sunday, December 2 are urged to call Traffic Constable Ken Riley of Skipton Road Policing Group on 101.