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My 40 years behind the lens; Daily Post photographer Arwyn Roberts publishes autobiography.

Byline: ERYL CRUMP Daily Post Chief Reporter eryl.crump@trinitymirror.com

FOR more than 40 years Arwyn Roberts has seen events in North Wales unfold through his camera's viewfinder.

He has seen serious accidents and disastrous fires, covered murder trials and attended visits by royalty and has taken thousands and thousands of images for the Daily Post and its sister weekly newspapers the Caernarfon & Denbigh Herald and the Holyhead & Anglesey Mail.

After publishing two hugely popular volumes of some of those photographs Arwyn, who lives at Rhosgadfan near Caernarfon, has turned the spotlight on himself and penned his autobiography.

It was published on Saturday as part of the Inc Festival at Galeri Caernarfon. Arwyn said: "It all started 40 years ago when I saw an advert in the Caernarfon & Denbigh Herald. It said "Boy Wanted".

"The job was for an apprentice printer in the old printing room in Caernarfon. I applied for the job and got it and started work in 1975, 41 years ago.

"During my time in the print room I started taking pictures and after about four or five years in the print room I became a full time photographer for the paper."

The offer to become a full-time photographer came soon after a huge blaze destroyed the Caernarfon & Denbigh Herald building in Castle Square.

Arwyn said: "It was a Thursday and I was in the print room and heard one of the others asking what Fred Evans, a printer, was smoking.

"The building was of course on fire. We quickly got out and called the fire brigade.

"Standing on the Maes I can remember seeing aerosol cans of paint shooting out of the window like bullets," said Arwyn.

The following week the headlines read "Black Thursday" and changed the newspaper for ever.

"We quickly found other premises in the town but soon after the owner sold the paper to the North Wales Weekly News group and the paper was printed in Llandudno Junction from then on.

"I was fortunate to be offered the job of photographer and stayed in Caernarfon," he said.

"I remember the funeral of Jack Evans in Porthmadog. A jazz band from New Orleans was flown in to take part in the funeral procession down the High Street. That was quite a moment.

"I went to the scene of he helicopter crash in Llyn Padarn, Llanberis, in 1993 where young people died as well," said Arwyn.

In addition to recalling the many sad and unfortunate incidents Arwyn also recounts some of the lighter moments in a photographer's life.

One such tale involves the need to take a photo of some bikes near Pwllheli.

"A man planned to open a bike hire business along Y Lon Goed and thought Leafy Lane Bikes would be a suitable name for the venture.

"It attracted some negative publicity and we needed a picture. He wasn't talking to us so we thought of getting a snap of the bikes.

"The only way was to climb on top of the van and, with reporter Ian Parri driving, we inched slowly forward until I was in position. It was, looking back, dangerous and I told Ian this. And he said 'I know, but I'll take the risk'" said Arwyn.

The incident sparked a similar scene in the classic S4C comedy series C'Mon Midffild.

Since 1979, Arwyn has attended every National Eisteddfod and every Urdd National Eisteddfod since 1982. In 2005 he was invested into the Gorsedd of Bards at the National Eisteddfod held on the Faenol estate near Bangor. He said: "It was something I did totally not expect. I was installed in the Gorsedd for services to newspapers and it was something I felt honoured to accept because that is the only honour you could receive in Wales at that particular time.

In addition to Arwyn's tales the book also contains memories about him from some well known people.

Opera star Bryn Terfel recalls how Arwyn followed his career from a young, aspiring singer at local eisteddfodau through to his appearances in major opera houses worldwide.

"There's no doubt the lenses and cameras have changed considerably over the past 40 years but Arwyn is still exactly the same. I look forward to seeing his career continue for many years to come," said Bryn.

Arwyn Herald: Hunangofiant Ffotograffydd Papur Newydd is published by Gwasg Carreg Gwalch, price PS8.
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Publication:Daily Post (Conwy, Wales)
Date:Oct 3, 2016
Words:728
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