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Retired photojournalist captures anecdotal history of Dungannon in fundraising booklet

Richard Scott

Born and raised in Armagh – but now living in Dungannon – retired photojournalist, Richard Scott, is in the final stages of production of an historical Dungannon-based booklet that he hopes will raise vital funds for Air Ambulance NI.

Over the last two years Richard has been sharing images from his years of work on social media to great public response.

Richard’s daughter, Wendy began a Dungannon Area Community Group on Facebook shortly after her beloved mother’s passing, just a week before the first Covid lockdown in 2020. Here, she encouraged her bereaved father to share his photography.

Speaking to Tyrone I, Richard said: “Wendy asked me what I was going to do with myself? So, she encouraged me to share my old photos in the group and so I did. I remember the first image I shared received over 15,000 page views and that gave me great confidence and spurred me on.”

Richard’s photos often accompany a short story, an anecdote or general historical information. He said: “The people love the stories! They enjoy the photos too but they really like being able to put the story to the photo.”

When asked where he gets his information from Richard simply smiled and tapped a finger to his head stating: “It’s all up here. All from memory. Every now and again, if I need some more information I’ll look it up online”.

One of Richard’s images depicting railway sleepers being removed after the disuse of the line, at what Richard believes to be Annaghmore Station

The idea for the booklet was then born from Richard’s success with the group. Having shared approximately 1000 photos over the last two and a half years, he explained: “I would spend maybe an hour to an hour and a half writing the stories and they would be great, but, I would go back a day or two to try and find it and it had moved down the group and was impossible to find.

“People kept saying that I needed to put them all into a collection, into a book, so that’s where the idea came from.”

Richard’s photographic collection spans over 100 years with the oldest images having originated from glass plate negatives.

Added Richard: “Now, obviously I didn’t take the images from the glass plates! These were gifted to me many years ago and I kept them, perhaps rather foolishly, in an office space in Dungannon.

“Unfortunately, the plates were all reduced to a ball of glass in a bomb attack in the 1970’s. Everything went up in fire.

“I did happen to have a few of the images from the plates backed up on film, so there are a few I have managed to save and some of these are included in the booklet.”

The booklet spans some 40 pages and includes – amongst other fascinating tales all written in Richard’s own voice – the story behind some of Princess Diana’s most beautiful outfits, the restoration work at Moygashel ‘Big Chimney’ and its history and ‘terrible’ tales of the workhouses.

With many thousands of photos collected over the years and many more hundreds of thousands of hours in the developing and printing of these images, this really is a lifetime’s work that Richard has collaborated.

His own personal favourites, although as he says, “with that many photos and stories it’s hard to pick”, are from his days photographing for Tyrone Crystal.

He said: “Celebrities came from all over the world, Heads of State and lots of interesting people, and they would be shown how to cut glass and I would photograph that. I met a lot of very interesting people.”

One of Richard’s many images of the Strelitz workforce, Dungannon.

The booklet is now finalised and ready for print with the first batch expected on Monday December 12. Richard has already received orders from many of his Dungannon-based followers but also has requests from as far as Australia, America, Canada and New Zealand.

All the proceeds from the booklet will be donated to Air Ambulance NI, a cause that Richard feels passionately about.

Booklets can be obtained from The Fork Filling station, CR Print, Walter Cuddy’s shop in Market Square and by contacting Richard or Wendy.

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