Wigan Council photographer names working with Sir Ian McKellen as a career highlight after retiring from local government

Wigan Council’s official photographer has retired after 37 years in local government.

Wednesday, 27th October 2021, 4:17 pm
Updated Wednesday, 27th October 2021, 4:18 pm
Dave Green has retired from his role as Wigan Council photographer

Wigan Council’s official photographer has retired after 37 years in local government.

Dave Green, who lives in Winstanley, has preserved for posterity some of the best moments in the town over the last decade.

In his role taking pictures for the local authority, he has enjoyed plenty of highlights.

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He said: “For a long time I did the Wigan Borough in Bloom stuff, which was perfect because I got to design the official booklets, the portfolios and the judges’ guide. I also did all the photography. It was a big job every year which brought both roles together.

“A big moment for me, as a Lord of the Rings fan, was meeting and photographing Sir Ian McKellen.

“He didn’t want a big press pack, so they allocated one person and it was me, so I spent the whole day with him. He was a real gentleman.

“There was also the famous sporting year where Wigan won everything, and that was my favourite because the opportunities were amazing.

“I produced a hardback book and it went on sale in Waterstones, which was a proud moment which sticks out.

“I enjoy contributing to the memories of the borough. There’s a bank of about 50,000 of my photos. It’s a huge archive of history and I’m quite proud of it, and that I’ve left them with something that will be useful for years to come.”

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Initially Mr Green only joined Wigan Council for three months in a completely different role, which involved helping them to design their first road using a computer.

“I liked it more than travelling to Manchester, so I thought ‘I’ve got a few months to make myself indispensable.’ I was a highway engineer but because of my interest in computers I became the go-to IT guy.”

His path into photography started when the decision was made for the department to have a proper magazine, with Mr Green put forward to help out. My official position for it was graphic designer but because we needed pictures for the magazine and other stuff, the role changed over the years, until I got photographer added to my title as well.

“It is something I’ve been interested in since I was 12. I wanted to do it at school but I got talked into surveying, which was the nearest I could get. I took the long way round but I got there in the end.”

After a team reshape in 2007, he became even more involved in the photography side of things.

He said: “I used to spend all day taking photos for the council, then do the same in my own time, it’s what I’m passionate about. I did things that didn’t feel like work, like landscapes, nature, wildlife and steam trains, so I will do more of that.

“I still shoot in black and white film and develop them mysel and I’ll carry on doing that too.”

Mr Green says the pandemic prompted his decision to retire and made him realise what he wanted to prioritise.

“I had a really bad time with Covid last year, I was in hospital for a couple of weeks and nearly didn’t make it. I’m still not 100 per cent better yet. It helped to focus my brain to what is important in life and that is your health and your family.

“Now I’ve got to the age where I’ve done 37 years in local government, I’m 59 at Christmas, and I can afford to retire, so I’ve gone for it.”

“The team gave me a good send off, with a presentation. My friends and colleagues made a video and said lots of nice things about me, and the team met up and had a good session.”

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