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Citizen snapper going strong after 30 years

Snap-happy Richard Besent has celebrated 30 years as a leading light in the Citizen photography department.

Last week he celebrated with current and former colleagues and looked back on a lifetime in pictures.

  • Richard celebrates his 30 years
  • And he recalled the days when he deflated the Bentham Domes, fell head over heels into the River Severn and collapsed a counting table on election night!

    He said: “After the election count in Stroud, I was standing on a table with (Citizen photographer) Paul Nicholls, who was then with the Stroud News, and there was an almighty crack and the table gave way.

    “Both of us fell down in a heap and the first thing somebody said was ‘how’s the camera?’.

    “Another time, the first time I went to the Bentham Domes in Cheltenham, I opened the emergency exit trying to get out and the door shot out of my hand and the domes started to deflate.

    “People were running around trying to sort it out.”

    In his time, he has snapped scores of celebrities, including at one time or other all members of the Royal Family. That included Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer on what was one of their first public outings together in Tetbury.

    Richard, (57), began taking pictures when he was 11, bringing together his love of photography and motor racing. He developed his pictures in a makeshift darkroom in his bedroom.

    After a Gloucester Art College course, he spent around ten years at the Dursley Gazette and Stroud News and Journal before joining The Citizen in 1975.

    He said: “I don’t think I could do anything else. I enjoy the camaraderie of it and there’s nothing quite like working for a newspaper.

    “It’s got that immediacy where you do something at night and go into the newsagents the next day and your picture is on the front. It still gives me pride.”

  • A streaker at the Stroud v Bedford Athletic NPI rugby Cup Final won Richard the top award in the humour category in the 1998 Geoff Benger Memorial Awards
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