Talented Muswell Hill photographer died after car hit tree in Highgate

Friends of a photographer who tragically died after his car hit a tree in Highgate have paid tribute to a caring man who was passionate about art and devoted to his family.

Michael McCarthy, 63, who lived with his wife in Cranley Gardens, Muswell Hill, was driving through Hampstead Lane in Highgate in the early hours of the morning on September 1 when his car crashed near the junction of Compton Avenue.

He died at the scene.

Mr McCarthy, known to his friends as Mike, was a keen photographer well known for his pictures of the West Country landscape, where he often holidayed with his wife and three daughters.

Adele Nicholl, a close friend of Mr McCarthy, said: “It is just tragic. I was sitting at the computer about to reply to an email from Mike when his wife phoned to tell me of his death.

“It just felt like it wasn’t real.”

Passionate about photography, which he had studied at The Institute in East Finchley, Mr McCarthy fundraised tirelessly for the adult learning centre, where he indulged his interest in jazz by putting on music evenings to raise money.

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Joy Solomon, principal of the Institute, said: “I am shocked and saddened to hear of the sudden death of Mike McCarthy.

“Mike led The Institute’s stalwart committee of volunteer fundraisers for a number of years.

“He organised a string of successful fundraising events for us, including a very successful jazz concert and a number of celebrity lunches.

“He devoted an enormous amount of his time to his local community.”

Robin Marks, another friend who worked with Mr McCarthy at The Institute, said: “Mike was chairman of the fundraising committee and did an excellent job, making the committee fun, combined with the serious side of raising money. We’ve been friends ever since.

“It is tragic news, and my thoughts are with his family, who I know were so important to him.”

No arrests have been made and a police spokesman said no other vehicles are believed to have been involved in the collision.

An inquest was opened at Barnet Coroner’s Court on September 5.