A RETIRED press photographer from Oakley has told how he was ‘beaten up’ by a Hollywood star whilst attempting to take her picture.

Graeme Hewitt, of The Vale, began his career working for local papers before becoming freelance and selling his images to the national press.

The 80-year-old recalls returning home from covering a darts match late at night in the early 1970s when he passed Wokingham Railway Station which was all lit up.

He said: “It was bathed in spotlights. I pulled up only to find it was roped off, a chair for the director and another for the star, and told the actress was on set and did not want any publicity.”

Not quite believing his luck at stumbling across the film set for See No Evil in the middle of the night, Graeme decided to use a back way into the station to try and take the unnamed Hollywood actor’s photo.

However, he said the film star was not amused, explaining: “She did not like my presence and kicked and belted me.”

The following day, the local paper reported the story with the headline ‘Our photographer beaten up by **** *****’.

During his working years, Graeme lived along the Reading Road and said he frequently enquired about sirens going past his home, with one occasion leading to a front-page photo used in a national paper.

The father-of-three and grandfather-of-five said: “One time a fire engine went past so I got on the phone and asked where they were going. They said there had just been a traffic accident at the Star Lane level crossing just outside Wokingham.

“I got there just after the fire engine. It was in the days when level crossings were only half barrier across one half of the road and what had happened was someone in a van had tried to jump the crossing and he got hit by the Waterloo to Reading train and was dragged 300 yards. I got a picture of the van underneath the train.”

The picture was the very first image used by The Times on its front page, in March 1967.

“At the time I didn’t think it was making history,” said Graeme.

Graeme, who sits on Oakley Parish Council, recalls one photo being used in the Sunday Express of a cat curled up in the bottom of a bird cage with a parrot sat on the perch.

He said: “I had a relationship with a local vet and he gave me a call and said it might make a good photo.”

During his career Graeme photographed many royals, including Princess Margaret who he followed around a zoo in Windsor, which is now Legoland, when she was about six or seven.

She was accompanied by Lord Lindley and stopped at a zebra enclosure.

Graeme said: “The zebras moved to the back and I jumped in to try to bring them forward and got screamed at by a warden as they can bite and kick. You just don’t see these dangers as a press photographer.”