Our Club's History

David Barnikel had generated a lot of local interest in photography at the Burton Cliff Hotel by the early 1990’s, by hosting a series of City and Guilds photography courses, which were tutored by Colin Grellis.

Lifetime President David Barnikel

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David himself took part in the courses and gained both City and Guilds qualifications and his Licentiate from the Royal Photographic Society ...

Press clippings from the Time show that Pass Rates were Particularly High ...

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At that time, Colin Varndell had become involved at the Burton Cliff and was running a series of nature photography courses.
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David and Colin had discussed starting a camera club many times, but they were both mindful of the fact that there had been previous attempts at starting camera clubs in Bridport, which had failed.

During the winter of 1993/94 David and Colin had several clandestine meetings to develop a plan to kick-start a camera club. Subsequently, a group of interested photographers (some of which had attended the City and Guilds courses) were invited to join a steering committee, in order to see the project through the first few months.

Amongst these early volunteers were Brian Stidwell, Keith Ackerman, Dick Lane, Garry Hayball, Steve Dixon, David and Mary Cantrille, with Colin Varndell as acting Chairman and David Barnikel as acting Vice-Chairman.

Colin and David had previously drawn up a short programme of speakers with a view to launching the club.

The first meeting was advertised and the speaker was to be Bert Wason FRPS from Wareham.

The first club night was held in March 1994 and saw an excellent turn out of over 70 people, 50 of which joined the newly formed club there and then.

A Few familiar Faces Amongst the Early Membership ...

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Colin appealed for volunteers to help run the club and two people came forward that night:-

Elaine Tame volunteered to be treasurer Mark Layton volunteered to be programme secretary.

Other speakers addressing the club during the first few months included: David Oswin, John Hawkridge and Colin Varndell.

The first AGM was held on 28th September 1994 when the club constitution was voted for and the new committee elected.

Membership numbers continued to increase and by 1997 exceeded 70 members. By this time, Mervyn Higgs and Phil Gamble had joined the committee

Some Competition Winners from the Summer of '96

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During its formative years, the club had several successes including winning the Wessex Battle twice and enjoying numerous field events.

There were frequent local trips as well as ones further afield to places like Dartmoor, Exmoor and the New Forest.

Although you can see by the accompanying cartoon from an early club newsletter that certain members were probably more troublesome than others when let out!
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... and looking at these recent pictures from a field trip to Slimbridge, maybe not much has changed!
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Garry and Mervyn still causing trouble on the minibus!
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