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Last Updated: Monday, 7 June, 2004, 16:16 GMT 17:16 UK
Tributes and concern for BBC men
Simon Cumbers working with the BBC's Kate Adie in Oman in 2001
Colleagues described Simon Cumbers as "a lovely bloke"
Friends and colleagues have emailed BBC News Online to pay tribute to the Irish cameraman killed in Riyadh and offer their best wishes for the BBC reporter who was injured.

Chris Cheshire, 41, from Ealing, West London was a neighbour of Simon Cumbers, who was shot dead in the attack, and an ex-army colleague of security correspondent Frank Gardner, who remains in hospital.

"I was shocked to hear of the attack," he told BBC News Online. "Simon was a real affable, outgoing kind of guy. A good neighbour."

"I would have never thought this kind of thing could happen to him."

Mr Cheshire and Gardner served together in the Royal Green Jackets in London from 1989 to 1991.

"I had been concerned for some time whether Frank had been putting himself in the line of fire by reporting in such an in-depth manner on al-Qaeda.

"He and Simon have become the victims on this occasion. I will pray for Frank tonight, and will pay my respects to Simon when the family have had time to grieve," he said

'Saddened'

John O'Farrell, 42, a former freelance journalist from Belfast, worked with Mr Cumbers a number of times, including for Associated Press covering the Good Friday Agreement and Drumcree standoff in 1998.

"I was saddened to hear of Simon's death," he said. "He was a very good cameraman and a very nice guy to work with.

"I learned a lot from him. He was a decent, very patient man.

The risks are now so high in these areas
Cameraman Stuart McAlister
"Sadly he is not the first journalist I know to be killed.

"My thoughts are also with Frank, who I think is the best Western journalist working in that region," he said.

Rebecca Wright, 42, living in Singapore, who knew Gardner when he worked in an investment bank in Bahrain, said: "It's very upsetting.

"Frank is just a young bloke doing a very tough job, in what has now become a tough environment," she said.

'One after another'

Stuart McAlister, 42, a freelance cameraman based in Paris, who worked with Mr Cumbers, described him as a "lovely bloke".

"Unfortunately it seems as if it's just one after another," he said. "I have lost five friends and colleagues in the last five years.

"The risks are now so high in these areas. Journalists are simply considered fair game.

"Saudi Arabia was not one of those countries that was considered dangerous for journalists before, but now it is high risk.

"These places have now turned into shooting galleries for journalists."




SEE ALSO:
Manhunt after attack on BBC crew
07 Jun 04 |  Middle East
Shock over shooting of BBC crew
06 Jun 04 |  Middle East
Obituary: Simon Cumbers
07 Jun 04 |  UK
Profile: Frank Gardner
07 Jun 04 |  UK


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