The following is an extract of an email that was sent to me recently after one of my pictures ran in The Times following a story I photographed showing a new collection of knitted figures that had been attached to the pier in Saltburn, Cleveland. The knitters, known as ‘The Yarn Stormers‘ became well known last year for their previous displays depicting the Olympics and the Royal family with one particular figure depicting a naked Prince Harry . They have now adorned the pier with figures that represent ‘Beach Life’ and other coastal scenes.

A couple of days after publication I received this email, reproduced in part here…..

Hi Ian,

I have just spent the week with my elderly father who lives alone on the coast in Norfolk. In his day he worked at ‘The Times’ and maintains his interest in current affairs. Each day starts with his newspaper and breakfast – a morning ritual.  However, this week was the first time he has reacted positively to something in the paper for a long time.  It was Tuesday May 28 and your photograph of a little girl on her tiptoes, trying to grab one of the wonderful knitted figures on Saltburn Pier. Dad found the photo enchanting and seemed so uplifted by what he said was, “The best photograph I’ve seen in decades. It pulls you in and you just want to help her get the toy. It’s joyful”……………..
…………Dad’s passions since losing his wife two years ago are his grandchildren, painting and the north Norfolk coast which might explain why the photograph resonated so much. He has no comprehension of the ease of the internet and how little effort it would take to trace the photo. I am contacting you because I would love to surprise him with a copy of the photograph. I know that I could print a copy, but I wondered if I can purchase a proper print that I can frame and give him as an 87th birthday present. He doesn’t need anything and I just know that it would be the perfect present – something that would make him smile.


Just thought it was a nice email to receive and at least people can still be moved or affected by pictures that are taken even if they come from a relatively small local story.

It helps to restore faith in the power of photography – if even on a small scale.

I think I’ll send her a print.



Megan Wright, 2, from Plymouth enjoys the knitting on Saltburn pier during a visit to Saltburn with her parents

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