Friends of Richard Baker shared memories of the talented photographer as they presented St. Margaret’s Hospice with funds raised by an exhibition of his work.

A total of £2,016.65 was raised at an exhibition and sale of Richard’s photographs in Kingston St Mary Village Hall, which he oversaw and organised with the support of family and close friends in the final weeks of his life.

Richard, who lived in the village, took up photography seriously in retirement and developed his skills as a member of Taunton Camera Club. Despite being diagnosed with motor neurone disease in 2016, he continued taking photographs until just a few months before he died.

From the start of his illness, Richard, above, received assistance and support from St. Margaret’s Hospice, including home visits from our community team. As a way of saying thanks, he chose to donate the proceeds from the exhibition to our charity.

With the help of St. Margaret’s Hospice support worker Marie Magee, Richard was able to visit the exhibition to see his work on show and catch up with old friends just three days before he died, aged 71.

Friends Lorraine Cross, Marian Dunsford, Sheila and Tony Jones visited our Taunton hospice to present the proceeds of the exhibition to Community Fundraiser Kara Frampton.

“Richard was absolutely delighted that this money was going to St. Margaret’s Hospice – as we all are,” said Lorraine. “He sent his heartfelt gratitude to everybody involved in the exhibition and who came along and bought photographs or made a donation.”

Richard’s main interest was in landscape and creative photography, though he dabbled in other genres. He reluctantly gave up taking pictures when his condition worsened in the last few months of his life.

“When he was preparing to move into a care home, Richard wanted to give away his photographs,” said Sheila. “We thought they were so good we should put on an exhibition, and Richard was very keen on the idea of using it to raise funds. Selecting photos for the exhibition gave him a really good last month.”

Friends from across the country travelled to Somerset for the exhibition in October 2018.

“Richard came along on the Saturday with the support of Marie from the hospice and it was a wonderful opportunity for him to see lots of people he hadn’t seen for a long time,” said Lorraine. “My last memory of Richard is of him buzzing around the village hall in his wheelchair, looking at the photos and being pleased with how they had been displayed.”

Marian added: “Richard was very funny and very knowledgeable, and he was always artistic. During his illness he was determined to remain as independent as possible, and he was disciplined about doing his physiotherapy exercises. St. Margaret’s Hospice was a great support to him and he had so much faith and trust in the hospice staff.”