Ross in Lockdown photo competition: ‘Meet the Judges’

The Ross Good Neighbours photographic competition is well underway and there has been a great response so far. With the deadline of Monday 6 July looming, Cllr Daniel Lister, Mayor of Ross-on-Wye, sent a message to his followers on social media asking them to continue submitting photos which will be judged next week by the panel, all of whom are huge supporters of the arts and community projects. There are five categories you can enter – NHS, Baking, Outdoors, Home and Art – and you can email your entries, along with your name and telephone number, to comms@rosscdt.org.uk stating the category you are entering in the ‘Subject’ line. You can also upload your photos directly to the Ross Community Development Trust Facebook account, facebook.com/rosscdt. Winning entries will be reproduced in A3 framed format and all entries will be displayed locally (exact location to be confirmed as lockdown restrictions ease off).

The judging panel below are meeting on a Zoom call next week to decide on the winners – good luck!

Daniel Lister – Ross-on-Wye Town Councillor and Mayor Ross-on-Wye

Recently appointed Mayor of Ross-on-Wye, Danny is a huge believer in community spirit – rolling up his sleeves and getting on with the job in hand. He has a remarkable work ethic and is a loyal, hardworking and determined individual who likes to see work through to the end. Danny is always up for a challenge and enjoys learning new skills – amongst his achievements he has passed certificates in tree felling, asbestos awareness, lifeguard supervision, fireworks events organisation and legionella control! Following a period of working as bar and events manager from 2000 to 2004, Danny then spent the next 17 years working for PGL Travel, the UK’s leading outdoor adventure and education provider, in a variety of roles from group leader to maintenance technician. Currently, outside of his new mayoral responsibilities, he works part time as a support worker with local charity, Enviroability, which provides projects to benefit disadvantaged groups of people, the community and environment. Danny also dedicates his time working as a volunteer director with the Ross-on-Wye & District Community Association. Lockdown has been particularly hard for him as he loves to travel but he has been keeping busy as a volunteer radio presenter at Hereford Hospital Radio and is looking forward to Christmas, in his role as a Christmas Lights Committee Member!

Ed O’Driscoll – Ross-on-Wye Town Councillor and Chair of Community, Markets & Tourism Committee

Ed has a genuine passion for the arts and is a dedicated arts professional having originally studied Performance Art at Middlesex University followed by an MA in Social Media at Birmingham City University. As a Ross-on-Wye Town Councillor, chairing the Community, Markets & Tourism Committee, Ed also divides his time working as executive director of Arts in Rural Gloucestershire (AIR in G), supported by the Arts Council of England, and managing Calibre Productions, a vibrant touring production company known for creating high quality commercial theatre. His role with AIR in G is primarily a village and community touring circuit, promoting approximately 100 live events each year across all six districts of the county – however since lockdown this has unfortunately been brought to an abrupt halt. Ed is a huge dog lover, enjoying walking in and around the Ross-on-Wye countryside and in his spare time he also performs as lead singer with his band, The Forfeits – a local rock and pop band covering music from the 60s to present day.

Caz Holbrook – Photographer

Caz has lived in Ross-on-Wye for most of her life and has always had a keen interest in art from an extremely young age. After four years of formal training at Hereford Art College where she went on to gain qualifications in Art, Design, English and Photography, she went on to establish herself as a self-employed photographer, initially travelling extensively as a cruise ship photographer during her mid-twenties. Now, with over 20 years’ experience under her belt, her background in Art gives her a keen eye for composition, colour and design – and whilst most of her work revolves primarily around portraiture and wedding photography, she also produces Fine Art imagery. These are mostly landscapes but also include nature and abstracts – whatever catches her eye really! Her landscape work reflects her fondness of Ross-on-Wye and the surrounding areas – her iconic images ‘Rowers in the Mist’ and ‘Storm Desmond’ have both earned her international acclaim. ​​She has a large fan-base on many social media platforms, and her fine art images are available through her collaboration with the Made in Ross Art Collective, based above the Market House in Ross-on-Wye town centre. 

Meyrick Sheen – Arts and Community Projects Consultant

Meyrick was originally born and bred in Port Talbot and following a period of living in Newport, Gwent and then Wallasey, Cheshire with his wife Irene, son Michael and daughter Joanne, he has now finally retired and settled back in Port Talbot ‘with a wonderful view of Aberavon Beach’ he says. His father was an excellent photographer, winning a number of photographic competitions during his lifetime. Previously, Meyrick used to work as a Human Resources Manager for several international organisations based in the UK, but his heart has always been working within the local community. Since he was eighteen, he has had a keen interest in arts and culture and following his recent retirement as Chair of Port Talbot Operatic Society, he remains a Trustee there. He is also currently one of the Trustees of a major project – ‘The New Plaza Project : YMCA Port Talbot’ – a huge renovation project, due for completion in September 2021, to breathe life back into the historic, and once iconic, Plaza Cinema which sadly closed down in 1999. In addition to this, Meyrick dedicates his time as a Trustee to the charity, TREAT Trust (Wales) – Treatment, Rehabilitation, Exercise And Therapy – which aims to provide a rehabilitation and therapy centre to be built on gifted land within the Morriston Hospital site in Swansea.

Kelly Davies – Head of Art, John Kyrle High School

Originally hailing from South Wales, Kelly developed her love for art during her time in Cardiff, where she pursued a degree at UWIC followed by a PGCE in Education. For the next 15 years after graduating, Kelly lived in the vibrant town of Brighton, where she immersed herself in its eclectic culture and creativity. During her time there, she worked in an Arts Award status school where she completed her apprenticeship in teaching and was part of a very established and experienced art department for over ten years. This, she says, is where she was exposed to a diverse range of art across the curriculum at KS3-5, from GCSE, A Level to BTEC courses, in fine art, textiles, graphics, photography, ceramics, mixed media and animation. She remembers her time there fondly and says it was a wonderful experience which she holds dear: “It opened my eyes to how art and creativity can have such an impact on our self-expression and interpretation of the world, along with nurturing our well-being. I am at my happiest when creating, inspiring others, and teaching the future generations about art.” In her spare time, Kelly enjoys visiting galleries and learning more about art. She sketches daily and models work for her students, generating ideas to develop their personal progress and love for the arts. Kelly says that having experienced the power of creating, she wants to continue to encourage others to experience the magic of it too. Kelly believes that photography is a creative tool that everyone can access and celebrate: “Capturing moments in time seems to be embedded in our culture today – we all have access to a mobile phone to capture one’s life and this can be instantly gratifying.”

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