Book Launch on 15th July, Curious Otter Bookshop

On Saturday 15th July, 10am-1pm, two authors will be at Curious Otter to sign their new publications that are related to Ottery St Mary. There will also be a small exhibition of some of the photographs included in their books.



This remarkable book, spanning the 40 year career of one of the UK’s top photo journalists, spills the beans on how some of the most iconic news photographs were achieved. Modestly titled More By Luck Than Judgement, the book consists of around 100 photographs depicting some of the biggest news stories in the South West.  But the stories behind snatching these pictures aren’t always a case of ‘right place right time’.   They relied on meticulous research, tenacity, daring, a touch of luck and above all, a sense of humour.


The man behind the lens is Richard Lappas, based on the Somerset/Devon border, whose award-winning pictures are still regularly seen in the UK’s national newspapers, particularly the Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday and Sunday Times.


In this fascinating book you will find out how Richard virtually camped out in a hedge overlooking a railway line for fortnight to capture Prince Edward training to be a Royal Marine, how he served fruit and veg during an assignment to photograph Princess Diana, and how Margaret Thatcher rescued his lens after it rolled down a hill and threatened to disrupt her husband’s golf match.


You will never forget the hilarious story behind former BBC Jennie Bond’s mystery ‘boob job’, capturing the Queen visiting a pub, and rising star Hugh Grant and his then girlfriend Liz Hurley opening a fête which turned into a media scrum.   There are inevitably a collection of animal stories including the pigeon who joined the police force and the farmer who devised a way of feeding his cows by computer.


On a more serious note, Richard’s series of pictures of a heartbroken farmer during the foot and mouth crisis, was an image that summed up the entire tragedy.  Richard’s iconic shots of Leyland Branfield became known as the Crying Farmer and were splashed across several pages of the Daily Mail as well as going global.


Major news stories such as Genette Tate’s disappearance, the Penlee Lifeboat disaster and former Liberal leader Jeremy Thorpe’s trial are included as well as many a tale of action at Taunton’s cricket ground and on the football touchlines.


Even a potentially dry story about Taunton museum taking delivery of a collection of Roman coins ended up on the front pages thanks to Richard’s unusual interpretation of the story.


‘A sense of humour definitely helps,’ Richard explains.  ‘There’s no time for clever lighting or asking everyone to say cheese.  The picture not only has to capture the moment but tell the story in a vivid and compelling way. ’



Ottery St Mary Heritage Walk – Nigel Sadler

In this, his second publication on Ottery St Mary, Nigel Sadler takes the reader on a walk through the Ottery St Mary Conservation Area using historic images to give the reader a sense of what the area used to look like, and what businesses were operating about 100 years ago. The idea behind the book followed a newspaper article in 2016 stating that Historic England had identified Ottery St Mary’s Conservation as one of the most at risk in the England. When the author looked into the Conservation Area little information was easily accessible about the buildings, the streets and the people who lived and worked in the area, and what there was, was split through the limited number of publications on Ottery St Mary.


After walking the Conservation Area several times the author felt that there was an opportunity to promote it and draw people’s attention to it in an attempt to encourage the area to become better protected. He decided to see if existing and new information could be written in a way that made a guided walk and the result is this book that provides a 90 minute to two hour leisurely walk taking in the historic heart of the town.



About the Authors

Richard Lappas

Photo Journalist Richard Lappas began his media career at the Keystone Press Agency in the heart of Fleet Street in the early 1970s as a caption writer working on Features and eventually News. From there he was invited to take up a post with the leading West Country news and picture agency Devon News Service based in Exeter which eventually moved into Cornwall, Somerset, Dorset & Bristol.


A decade later, Richard, having learnt about all aspects of editorial photography, syndication, news, features and sport, he branched out on his own and eventually built his own agency covering the south west of England.


Since the early 1980s, Richard has won a number of prestigious awards, become a qualified University & College lecturer and written his own autobiography about his life in the national newspaper industry.


Richard frequently gives talks and lectures on news gathering as well as photo journalism. He is an active member of NAPA (National Association of Press Agencies), a member of the BAJ and works as a volunteer for the Devon Air Ambulance Trust and continues to work for a number of the national newspaper titles.


Nigel Sadler

Nigel Sadler qualified as an archaeologist in 1986 and then spent 2 years working in the Middle East (Jordan, Iraq, Syria and Turkey) and 2 years in the UK. He retrained in Museum Studies and spent 8 years running museums in London, before becoming the Director of the Turks and Caicos National Museum in 2000. In 2007 he set up his own museum and heritage consultancy (Sands of Time Consultancy) especially to work on projects for the Bicentenary of the abolition of the slave trade, a subject he had researched extensively whilst working in the Caribbean. He moved with his wife Vicky to Ottery St Mary, Devon, in November 2010. He has written magazine articles and books on subjects as diverse as left handedness, Alfred Hitchcock, slavery, the role of children’s clubs in museums, and photographic books covering the history of British Piers, Museums in Britain and the British West Indies and the First World War through Postcards. He has written two books on Ottery St Mary using historic images; Ottery St Mary Through Time (published in 2013) and his new publication Ottery St Mary Heritage Walk to promote the Conservation Area.




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: