Preston ex-soldier who takes photos using his mouth stars in Help For Heroes exhibition alongside partner

Military veterans turned amateur snappers from Preston have had their photos selected for the first photography exhibition by Help for Heroes.
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A display of around 60 original images has gone on show at Stockport War Memorial Art Gallery until Sunday, November 12.

Amongst the gallery of photos are snaps taken by Claire Corner who served in the Army Reserves and her partner John Newcombe, an infantry soldier for 34 years, was injured in a blast in Northern Ireland in the 1980s.

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Both have developed their photo-taking techniques and, whilst John, 60, is no longer able to hold a camera in his hands due to progressive Multiple Sclerosis, he can snap his pictures using a bite switch.

John and ClaireJohn and Claire
John and Claire

"So proud”

The beginners’ photography project that started online during lockdown to unite members of the Armed Forces community in their recovery.

“We are so proud to be a part of this exhibition, to see the world through the lens of other members of the Armed Forces community is so inspiring,” said Claire, 44, who lives with John in Preston.

One of her featured photos was taken on a walk in Lytham St Annes when she got chatting to an elderly lady who was delighted that Claire offered to take her picture.

Claire's photo of the lady in Lytham St AnnesClaire's photo of the lady in Lytham St Annes
Claire's photo of the lady in Lytham St Annes
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"She will be over the moon that she is starring in a photography exhibition, I’m going to have to go back to Lytham to try and find and tell her,” she said.

Birds of prey

John’s image was a taken at a falconry day when the inquisitive birds of prey were as interested in his specialist wheel, funded by Help for Heroes, as interacting with their photographer.

Sarah Beale, from Help for Heroes, said: “We launched our photography courses to help veterans in their recovery through fighting social isolation, providing a routine and generating a sense of pride and achievement.

One of John's photosOne of John's photos
One of John's photos

“Since then, the virtual and face-to-face meet-ups with professional photographer, Siorna Ashby, have attracted hundreds of veterans and their families who all learn how to improve their picture-taking skills, whether they are using a camera or a mobile phone.”

Siorna Ashby added: “Each veteran has a unique story only they can tell, and I’ve loved watching them get better at taking the kind of pictures they love.”