Every town needs colourful characters and here in Tavistock we were blessed with one of the most flamboyant and charismatic of men in Jim Thorington. Jim was the press photographer for the Tavistock Gazette as well as being a freelance journalist, assisted by Shirley his wife, from the 1960s until his death in 2002. After Jim’s death Shirley decided that his extensive collection of photographs should be preserved for the town as a significant part of its social history over many decades of the twentieth century. Thus the Thorington Collection was born on loan from its owner and copyright holder Shirley his widow.
Nearly 80,000 of Jim’s images from the early 1960s to the late 1990s have been preserved thanks to the Tavistock Local History Society, Tavistock Museum and volunteers who, for the last few years, have been busy archiving them, from parades to parties and portraits to landscapes. There is also a thriving Facebook page relating to Jim Thorington run by someone simply known as ‘D.G.’ which has a massive following in Tavistock and further afield.
Jim left us with a truly irreplaceable and unique legacy and the heritage of our town will be the richer for it.