04:30AM, Wednesday 04 January 2012
A beloved photographer who charmed everyone from foreign royalty to hospital matrons as died after a battle with cancer.
Raymond Thatcher ran his business from Maidenhead town centre, first in King Street and then Queen Street, for 54 years.
During that time he captured memories for more than 10,000 families and was also appointed the official photographer for Eton College.
Famous faces such as the Queen, Margaret Thatcher, Steve Redgrave, Bruce Forsyth and Henry Cooper were also immortalised through his lens.
The 75-year-old passed away at home in Henley on Thursday with second wife Maureen by his side.
She paid tribute to his 'fun and loving' nature and dedication to his family.
He was diagnosed with bowel cancer in July 2008 and underwent surgery and chemotherapy.
The all clear was given in March but secondary cancer was discovered in May.
Maureen said he was determined to spend Christmas Day with his family and achieved his goal.
She added: "His family was everything to him and we will miss him so much. Life will never be the same."
Born on January 9, 1936, Mr Thatcher grew up in Burnham and discovered his love of photography aged 10 when his mother gave him a Box Brownie.
As well as capturing thousands of people at weddings, in family portraits and at social events, he boasted many high profile corporate clients.
But he felt the highlight of his career was an invitation to spend three weeks in Jordan photographing King Hussein and his family.
His trademark beard was grown during a hospital stay as a young man in the army. He grew it in defiance of the ward matron's ban on beards and persuaded her to let him keep it, never shaving it off.
His other passion in life was skiing and he was accomplished on both water and snow.
He was a member of the Rotary Club of Maidenhead for 35 years, holding the presidency in 1985-86.
Club secretary Mike Holness said: "He was the watchword for service to the community, particularly in respect of our various events for older people through the year. We will greatly miss Ray, both as a dear friend and a totally committed and dedicated Rotarian."
Mr Thatcher leaves two children from his first marriage, son Neil and daughter Amanda, a stepson, Gary, and five grandchildren.
His Queen Street shop has been closed temporarily.
A funeral service will be held at Bray Church at 1.30pm on Thursday, January 12.
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