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FOUND: Searching for – Guildford UK based photo agency Cassidy and Leigh

Photo verso

11 May 2018 1.20PM: A major London based TV company is looking to clear copyright on a number of stills from photo agency Cassidy and Leigh. The images are from the 1970’s and it looks like the agency were based in Guildford Surry – as the photo verso shows – left

11 May 2018 9:15PM : UPDATE: the current copyright holder has been found via the network – Photographer Nigel Farrow spotted our article and email the PAN office “I would have thought NAPA could help but if not Denis’ partner Don Leigh has a son David who is the journalist. Not sure who he works for now but he broke the story of the canoeist who faked his death and turned up in Panama a few years ago.”

The penny dropped! Don Leigh’s son is David Leigh who PAN knows from  his days at Splash News and now one of the founders of The Mega Agency.
We contacted David who spoke with his father and is now helping to clear the copyright on the images.
We asked David for a Cassidy and Leigh bio …which follows below:




The Cassidy & Leigh News Agency was set up by two Manchester boys who had been pals at school before both becoming journalists.

Don Leigh started life as a cub reporter on the Wythenshawe Recorder then, following National Service, joined the News Chronicle and later becoming a freelance based in Altrincham, Cheshire.

Denis began his career on the Irlam Guardian before moving to the Sheffield Star where he famously “fixed it” for his journalist pal Michael Parkinson to land a date with Mary, his wife to be.  From there Denis  began working shifts on Sunday papers before hooking-up with his old pal Don.

They decided to find an area of the country that wasn’t well covered by a freelance agency and after inquiries with the news and picture desks of national newspapers, reckoned Guildford in Surrey sounded a good bet.

They set up there in April 1961 and the agency soon became one of the most prolific of its day, covering the IRA bombing atrocities in Aldershot, Guildford and Caterham; the Royal Family; and breaking a string of big news stories across the Home Counties.

Denis left the agency for some years after being offered a job in Fleet Street as a senior reporter on the Sunday People.  Don stayed on with  Denis’s brother Peter Cassidy who was the agency’s Picture Editor for many years.

Among Cassidy & Leigh’s former staff were Greg Dyke, later Director General of the BBC;  the late Harry Aspey who became Managing  Editor of the Press Association, and a string of Fleet Street reporters and photographers including:  Nick Skinner (Daily Mail), Anthony Harwood (Daily Mirror/Daily Mail), Roger Allen and Chris Grieve (Daily Mirror), David Pilditch (Daily Mirror/Daily Express), Cheryl Stonehouse (Today/Daily Express), Tony Bushby (Sunday Mirror), Paul Kelbie (Daily Mail/ The Independent/The Times and Daily Telegraph), John von Radowitz, (Press Association), Jo Checkley (Woman’s Own), Chris Pharo (The Sun), Maurice Chittenden (Sunday Times), Steve Bottomley (Sky News), Doug Seeburg (The  Sun), Steve Hodge (Daily Mail), Tim Barlass (Evening Standard/Sydney Morning Herald), Jon Bainbridge (Reuters), Andy McKenzie (Scotland on Sunday), Richard Middleton (Daily Mail).

Don, now 81, retired in 2005 and lives in Hampshire. David, the second, and only of his four sons to follow in his footsteps, started his journalistic career doing weekend shifts for the agency, and remembers helping his dad by filing copy as a 14-year-old boy.

“If a big story broke at the weekend, Dad would file to the Mirror, Sun and Mail and I’d do the Express and Star,” he recalls. “It was back in the days of copy takers, and ‘is there much more of this..?’”

David worked as reporter, News Editor and Foreign Editor during 12 years at the Daily Mirror, before leaving to become Head of News at the Daily Express. In 2004, he moved to Miami as Senior News Director for Splash News, before leaving to become one of the founding members of The Mega Agency in 2015.

Denis died in April 2017 aged 82.  He is survived by his well-known actress daughter Raquel, who starred in a Downton Abbey, and sons Paul and Ian.

Denis and Don were founding members of the National Association of Press Agencies (NAPA)  of which Denis was still President up to his death .

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