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Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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Alexander Withers

May 16 2018
Wee Alex is badly missed by his friends and colleagues in Glasgow,

Alexander Withers, Pavement mag volunteer, photographer, friend and colleague, died last month aged just 62. To us he was wee Alex, with a warm smile and a ready laugh.

His life had not been without struggles. Glasgow was his home city but spent a lot of his life in Canada and returned in recent years. He had been ill for as long as we knew him, often walked with a stick, and was in and out of hospital. The last time we came to our regular session, late last year, his health was obviously suffering and he stopped being able to come to meet-ups not long after.

But he was much more than his health problems. He was a man with a great eye – and a great ear – for detail. He featured on a radio documentary that we made – Skippering – aired on ABC in Australia and BBC Scotland, about the sounds of homelessness.

He recalled his time sleeping rough, but it was not the obvious noises that he spoke of, the sirens and shouting, but the beating heart of a bird... an image of the fragile and the beautiful. Wildlife photography was his real passion and he loved to tune in to nature.

Over the years he took so many photographs for the Pavement; of Glasgow's iconic Barras market, of street begging, of local projects helping homeless people. All were full of humanity. He'd had an exhibition in a cafe, and was involved in art and photography projects at the Glasgow City Mission day centre. At one point he was a regular at photography gallery Street Level, where he used the darkroom on occasion.

It was his involvement with these projects, and his observation about how good they were for his soul, that inspired our current Pavement project in Glasgow, documenting the groups and activities helping homeless people rebuild their lives.

It was typical of Alex to notice this. He tried to have an upbeat approach to life, always looked for the positive. So that's how we'll remember him, with a smile and twinkle in his eye.

James Blakeley, Karin Goodwin, Jim Little and Alex McKay