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Friendship over photography develops at Pelton care home

BySam Schofield

May 13, 2021

A PASSION for photography brought a friendship into focus between an elderly care home resident and a staff member.

Award winning wedding photographer Kelly Matthews became an activities coordinator at Pelton Grange Care Home, Front Street, Pelton, after the Covid-19 pandemic slowed down her business, Love Photography.

Shortly after starting at the care home, she met 87-year-old Donald Sutherland, a fellow photographer who has worked for the National Coal Board and later Pelton Parish Council.

A friendship immediately developed between the two and they now regularly discuss their favourite cameras and their careers behind the lens.

Donald, who has lived at Pelton Grange Care Home since February 2020, said: “I was always interested in photography. I used to practice taking photographs of my family, particularly my wife. When I was around 19, I took pictures of everything and anything I could.

“When I left the Army, I was 24 and started working in Team Valley, as the National Coal Board had a regional headquarters there. I was often called on to travel far and wide to photograph accidents down coal mines.

“When the coal mines closed, I started working for Pelton Parish Council at 60. I also used to photograph friends’ weddings and give them the photos as gifts.

“It’s lovely chatting to Kelly about photography. She brought her old cameras in and some books on photography as well.”

Kelly said: “If Don is having a particularly stressful day, I always talk about his time as a photographer and his face lights up.

“I was always interested in photography as well. I started with a Halina Sprite 110mm and used to spend all my pocket money on films and developing.

“I turned my passion into a business, Love Photography, and I’ve now been trading 11 years. I have won a couple of Bronze Awards for my wedding photography.

“I like to photograph weddings but have done family shoots, glamour, industrial and baby shoots. I’ve even travelled as far as Mexico to photograph a wedding.

“After I joined Pelton Grange Care Home, when business slowed due to the pandemic, I met Don and learned about his passion for photography and we immediately hit it off.

“When I brought some cameras from my collection into the home, Don could remember using some of them in his time. It’s been fascinating learning about his career.”