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Friday, 15 July 2016

A Fond Farewell

Social media has all kinds of uses for me. From keeping in touch with friends, to finding out what's going on in the area. Sometimes you come across something that can be upsetting, for whatever reason. And that's exactly what happened to me a couple of days ago.

I was reading some Tweets on Twitter, when I came across a message about a Douglas McDonald and that it was his funeral on Friday. Now strangely enough I know a Douglas McDonald, a photographer, so I sent the author a message, asking them about this man that shares the same name as this friend of mine.

I got a reply, and they mentioned a link to where there was a photo of him. So I went to have a look. And yes, sadly it was 'my' Douglas. I was also saddened, as I realised that I couldn't go to his funeral, as a couple of people in my team at work were on holiday. So that would just leave me to keep everything moving.

I met Douglas several years ago through photography. He often went to book signings and theatre shows, to take photos of the authors, celebrities and stars that visited Nottingham. And I would be there too. Unlike me, he got paid for his photography, as he worked for the local newspapers, and did some freelancing. But it was good to see him and his Nikon every so often. I sometimes used to call him Donald, rather than Douglas. But I guess he would be used to that, and didn't seem to mind.

I also used to see him sat at a table in Beeston Library most Saturday's, diary open, colour coding events that he had put in. More book signings, events and shows. We would spend a good hour or so chatting about celebrities that we had photographed, or were coming to town soon. We both enjoyed the music of Kate Rusby, and would see each other at her Christmas shows that she put on at the Playhouse. He would also show me the photos that he managed to get printed in the Nottingham Post, on their readers page. Photos of flowers, animals etc. Things that he'd noticed on his travels. Just like me with this blog. He had a chuckle sometimes, as they would use one of his photos, that wasn't even taken locally, but he had sent it in anyway. He also used to write quizzes for the local WEA (Workers' Education Association) branch that he belonged to. And the odd reference book would be on the table as well.

Despite using a digital camera, he didn't seem that confident with technology. Especially mobile phones. He was interested in Twitter, but didn't know how to get it installed on his phone. So I told him how to do it. He finally managed it, but didn't Tweet very often. Unlike me, who Tweets 50 times a day. He often asked who I was following, and wondered who the person with the most followers was. I suggested it was Lady Gaga or Madonna.

So this morning many of his friends and family said a fond farewell to him at Bramcote Crematorium. But I couldn't be there. Going to the library in Beeston won't be the same now, as I'll never see Douglas sitting there again going through his diary, or reading a book or the local paper.