AMID the damp, dirt, and disruption caused by flood waters in Newport, a musically-inclined fireman entertains householders Colin Salmon and Heather Sidrok with a tune on their piano.

This moment of light relief in the midst of personal misery, captured by Argus photographer Mark Lewis, is among more than 350 images included in a major new book from the British Press Photographers' Association (BPPA), capturing the best of British Press photography during the last 15 years.

Five Thousand Days, subtitled Press Photography in a Changing World, begins with photographs charting the fall of communism in Eastern Europe in 1989 and ends with Jonny Wilkinson's Rugby World Cup-winning drop goal for England last November.

Mark's picture was taken in October 2000 when the stream at the back of homes in Goodrich Crescent, Newport, burst its banks after heavy rain and flooded living rooms and kitchens.

"It was a case of getting there as quickly as possible and I ended up to my knees in water," said BPPA member Mark, who has worked for the Argus since 1997.

"It was one of those off-the-cuff moments that lightened the mood and I just tried to capture it. He wasn't a great musician but you could make out the tune and that was probably what caused all the laughter."

The tune? The theme from the film Titanic.