dendrobatid From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2004, 1732 posts, RR: 54 Posted (2 years 8 months 3 weeks 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 3863 times:
I have heard that Mick Freer has passed away today after a long illness. Mick and I never knowingly met though we talked a lot via the site and always felt it likely that our paths had crossed in the past.
He has some wonderful old images on the site
angad84 From India, joined Nov 2012, 1782 posts, RR: 1
Reply 2, posted (2 years 8 months 3 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 3713 times:
A great loss for the community. I didn't know him personally or even through the forums, but frequently checked out his and Stuart's images. The recent Northolt night shots were beautiful, as were a lot of the older scans. He was a skilled and inspiring photographer. My condolences to his family.
GPHOTO From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2004, 840 posts, RR: 21
Reply 7, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 3217 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW DATABASE EDITOR
The news of Mike's passing came as a terrible shock to me. My sincerest condolences to his family and friends, especially his equally talented son Stuart, also an Airliners.net contributor.
It has been a privilege to have been an acquaintance of Mike in the last couple of years. We managed a few get togethers which have left some very happy memories! Mike had been unwell for a while, but had seemed to have been getting better, but earlier this year became unwell again. We have been waiting for him to recover, so that we could carry on our get togethers and make some trips out, but it was sadly not to be.
Mike lived in Worcestershire, the same county of England as myself. This is what led to him getting in touch with me when he saw a photo I had taken of a gate guard Wessex helicopter that was practically on his doorstep. You can see Mike's photo below, perfect for a Christmas card!
Like himself, I had an interest in the miltary side of aviation, especially the Cold War era. This was Mike's forte and we stayed in touch as a result, always meaning to meet up, which eventually we did, at a restaurant/pub part way between where we both lived. This was to become a regular event two or three times a year, with another local A.netter we both knew, Michael Brazier, joining us. The three of us had some good evenings at The Nightingale, swapping aviation stories and our latest photo rejections (and techniques for resolving them) over a meal - usually an enormous fish and chips. Mike was a top gentleman, funny and great company. Mike and Michael were both experienced local enthusiasts and had therefore been to many of the same events and airshows going back many years and knew all the local haunts and significant happenings. As the youngster of the group, many of these tales were from before I was born (or just a young lad) and were absolutely riveting - looks like I missed out on a golden era! Old photo albums were often brought along and we had a lot of fun going through them in detail. Mike had a wealth of stories and knowledge about military aviation, from a time when the military aviation scene was a lot more varied and interesting than it is now or will ever be again. I never tired of his tales of trips around the country to see and photograph interesting aircraft, (many of which you can see here on Airliners.net), run in's with the authorities who did not understand what an aviation enthusiast was or of his trips on various military aircraft, many of which you can only see in museums now. A particular delight to him was his trip in a USAF KC-135A on a refuelling mission for A-10's, marred only be severe airsickness for much of the flight.
Mike had quite a sense of humour too. On what turned out to be our last get together at The Nightingale, some months back, after spending all night talking about military aviation one of the waitresses got the wrong idea and asked us if we were pilots. Quick as a flash, Mike, with an absolute poker-face, said "Yes" and good-naturedly strung the poor lass along for a few minutes before we left! I'm not sure what clandestine government airline she thought we were working for!
Passionate about aviation more than most, Mike was involved in a number of historical organisations. He was Vice-Chairman of the Skyfame Supporters Society which supported the privately owned Skyfame Museum at nearby Staverton Airport, Gloucester. This early and very significant museum eventually collapsed but most of the exhibits were saved - many are now at Duxford for example. He was then one of the founding members of the South West Aviation Society, a volunteer for RIAT for many years and an editorial member of some of the webs better known military aviation websites. He has had a number of images used in magazine articles and was no stranger to gracing their front covers either. He was one of the founder members of the Defford Airfield Heritage Group, dedicated to preserving the history of RAF Defford, the most important UK airfield in the development of radar during the Second World War and for some time after. He was also a volunteer with a local animal charity. There was much more to Mike than aviation photography, though that is what most of us here will best remember him for.
If you are not familiar with his historical collection of images, follow the link below and be prepared to be whisked back to the days of the Cold War. It's a fine collection and one he wanted to share with the world, so please take a look.
I'm going to miss you my friend. May you have clear skies and the sun at your back.