Country boy who became hooked on steam scene
The man who has made this souvenir picture gallery possible is David Hargrave, from Durrington in Wiltshire.
David, a regular contributor to the Western Daily Press, was born at Milston, next to the dairy at Milston Farm, where his grandfather, father and uncle all worked.
He said: "As children we all used to help out on the farm, as you did in those days. I went to the village schools at Durrington and we moved to the village of Durrington, which is just over the river from Milston, in 1953."
David worked worked for what was then the Wiltshire County Council on estates management until he had a mini stroke.
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He explained: "This was around the same time as my parents became ill. My mother suffered for several years with dementia and father suffered from an illness also. It was hard times for a while, but we did get some very helpful support from the Salisbury Alzheimer's Society, who supplied carers and other support.
"It was also during this time, that I started to set up a website, using my father's old pictures of the area and recording the things that happened during and indeed before his time. My father was always keen to take photographs, unlike me. It was rare for me to take pictures. Maybe I would take the odd one now and again, if I saw something of interest."
David has become well known to Western Daily Press readers for supplying a constant flow of images from the region – particularly pictures that capture the golden age of steam.
He said: "I have, like my brother Bob, always been keen on the steam scene and I used to cycle as a child to many steam events, including the very first Dorset steam rally at Shaftesbury. Now who would have thought it would become what it is today? We used to cycle all over the place, as we never had a car, so in the early days we had to rely on a bus or walk or cycle.
"It was only after I started work that a car was purchased, although I did have a council vehicle based at home for work."
David's father died suddenly the night before his mother's birthday and his mother passed away six weeks later.
"During the time shortly after this, I decided to go to press so to speak and start a fundraising campaign and also awareness support for the Alzheimer's Society. It was decided to set up the website in my late father's name, as it was mainly his work that started it all. Gradually I added to this and started to take photographs to update what he had recorded.
"It was then that I was approached by some of my former work colleagues, who asked if I would be able to help them out with some part time work in Bath at the parks department. It was for a few months, some consultancy work.
"This involved the writing up and setting up of the hot air balloon transport passenger licence and various other tasks. I also at this time started to take many photographs in Bath, as there was so much to record worth that was looking at. Then things really snowballed – almost out of control.
"Those few months have now turned into many years in Bath and I have now sponsored the Bath entry into the Britain in Bloom competition for several years. This involved promoting the parks, etc, and then it developed into supplying the local papers with material as I built up contacts. The rest of this is now history as my work has also grown into supplying several newspapers, along with magazines and even television work at times.
"I also supply pictures to many local outlets for leisure and tourism, as well as the National Trust, English Heritage and many others through the Bath and North East Somerset Council."
David takes many steam photographs as he lives close to many of the mainline steam railways that run the steam trains. The steam rallies that he had so enjoyed as a boy took a back seat for a while, and then a few years ago, all that change.
David explained: "I was on a journey to Newbury one morning to take some photographs and I met up with Nick Barker and his engine Verity. I took a few pictures and he told me he was heading home for Dorset, so on my return from Newbury, I met him again near the end of his journey and took more pictures. That got my interest in steam rallies kick started again and I now travel all over the area with Nick and others. I have now so many old and new friends in this world it is unbelievable.
"It is through this friendship that we were able to get the Carters Steam Fair to Bath and many other good things have blossomed. I have even improved with my photographs, although I would never admit to being a photographer. I take pictures; I always say it is the subject and the opportunity that together make the photograph."
David sets up a stall at some events and uses the pictures, etc to raise funds for the Salisbury Alzheimer's Society charity.
"We also now produce around 20 different calendars each year – as an outlet for the pictures taken and to promote what we do. Then of course there are the newspapers and the magnificent support I have had from the Western Daily Press. We are even getting readers wanting my pictures, shown in the papers, which raises funds for the charity, which helps those less fortunate than ourselves.
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