Former Melton photographer passes away aged 88

Richard Nelson Lewis, a former Melton photographer and shopkeeper, who has passed away aged 88 EMN-190214-134841001
Richard Nelson Lewis, a former Melton photographer and shopkeeper, who has passed away aged 88 EMN-190214-134841001
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Well-known Melton photographer and shopkeeper, Richard Nelson Lewis, has died at the age of 88.

Many will know him from his many years running Lewis Cameras at 61 King Street, in the town, and for taking photographs at countless local weddings.

The old fish shop at 61 King Street, Melton, pictured in 1965 before it became Lewis Cameras EMN-190214-161337001

The old fish shop at 61 King Street, Melton, pictured in 1965 before it became Lewis Cameras EMN-190214-161337001

Mr Lewis was born in Herefordshire and brought up in Llwynypia, near Tonypandy, deep in the mining towns of the Rhondda Valley.

Two days after his 18th birthday he enlisted in the RAF and during his training he studied photography.

He spent several years in Cyprus and Egypt as well as numerous postings in England, including RAF Cottesmore.

In 1954, Mr Lewis met Betty Gunson at a dance at the Corn Exchange in Melton. They married in 1955 and settled in Frisby.

Mr Lewis left the RAF and worked as a photographer at the Taylor Aircraft Factory, at Rearsby, which made the small Auster aircraft.

Later in his working life he was employed at the photographic retail shop, Duncans, in Melton.

Mr and Mrs Lewis had four daughters - Alison, Siân, Catrin and Sara.

They continued to live in Frisby until 1966 when they moved to Melton town centre and opened their own photographic shop, Lewis Cameras.

His daughter, Siân Truszkowska, recalls: “The shop had formerly been a fish restaurant and had been empty for a number of years.

“It was in a terrible state of repair.

“Interestingly, the property’s deeds of 1882 reveal that, Mr Richard Shipley, a decorator, owned the shop and he had made alterations to the buildings to include a photographic studio.

“It would later become a bake house before being sold to Mr and Mrs Haddon for their fish shop.”

Mr and Mrs Lewis ran the shop long before digital photography evolved, selling cameras, photographic equipment and various types of films.

A studio was built on the first floor of the building for passports photographs and group shots.

Mr Lewis was also well known for wedding photography and industrial work at Pedigree Petfoods.

The success of the business enabled Mr and Mrs Lewis to buy a property in Gartree Drive.

However, as photography increased in popularity so did the competition and this resulted in the death of small photographic businesses such as Lewis Cameras.

Ms Truszkowska added: “My father loved to familiarise himself with new cameras and techniques by taking shots of his four daughters and he especially loved the time when digital cameras came into fashion - he could combine photography and his love of computers.

“In the early days, some of his work was quite artistic and I especially like the photograph of the swings in Melton Play Close, taken in the early 1960s.”

In 1985, Mr Lewis and his wife retired to Long Bennington, near Grantham, and had many happy years there.

Mr Lewis was an avid genealogist and became a keen wood turner and computer enthusiast.

He suffered a life-limiting stroke after the death of his daughter, Catrin, in 2007.

Mr Lewis remained at home until 2016 when, due to ill health, he moved to Scalford Court Care Home.

He passed away on Monday, January 28 and leaves wife, Betty, daughters, Alison, Sian and Sara and their husbands, Terry, Zbigniew and Alan, grandchildren, Sara Rebecca, Alek, Hannah, Holly, Bethan and Robbie and great-grandchildren, Evelyn, Darcey and Isabelle.

Mr Lewis also leaves behind many, many, photographs, slides, family history charts and memorabilia.

A funeral service will be held at 1.30pm on Wednesday, at Sage Cross Methodist Church in Melton.