Review of ‘Echoes of the Dales, the 80s - Part Two’, by Ron Duggins

This review is by Julie Bunting, and was published originally in The Peak Advertiser, the Peak District's local free newspaper, and is reproduced with Julie's kind permission.

THE 80S Part Two

by Ron Duggins
Published by the Author (2009)

Photographer Ron Duggins has produced this second volume of 1980s photographs from an archive that proved simply too overwhelming for only one book. It is, says Ron, a 'happy book' with hundreds of smiling characters at work and play all around Matlock, Bakewell and the Dales: bandsmen and businessmen, fundraisers and hellraisers, daredevils and rescuers, healthcare workers and dinner-ladies, beauty queens and princesses as well as actual royalty. Scores of sporting scenes are on record - more than one person appears upside-down.

Highdays and holidays are recalled from an era that already provokes nostalgia. Different hairstyles and clothes, even the occasional odd vehicle like the ill-fated C5, here pictured with a local estate agent at the wheel. Young beauties pose in coronets and crowns, while cups and awards are presented to age groups from infants to pensioners for all sorts of achievements, not least a massive cheque won on the football pools.

A recurring theme in this series continues with pictures of runaway vehicles, in one instance showing nuns on hand to give support with cups of hot tea and biscuits. The Dales has shared in countless bizarre stories over the years, and Ron took the photographs to prove it. He shows us a deadly plant which brought the Drug Squad to Two Dales; a Rotary Club President wielding Tommy Steele's umbrella; men in tights and suspenders at Tansley; living gnomes negotiating the A6 and 'lions on the loose and looking for easy prey'.

The whole area has played host to the most unlikely creatures, whether a wild boar at uncomfortably close quarters from Ron's point of view, a vulture, a leveret, a famously unpredictable emu, and a cuddly Schnorbitz on a visit to Bakewell.

Nostalgia is a mixed bag and it is sad for instance to see the last days of a village school with only five pupils on the roll, or the faces of much-loved characters no longer with us. But by and large, this truly is a 'happy book'. Pages 77, 82 and 85 are priceless!

Echoes of the Dales - The 80s Part 2 is published by the author, Ron Duggins.

Review by Julie Bunting

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