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Dereham loses last high street photographic studio

PUBLISHED: 14:33 01 July 2013 | UPDATED: 14:33 01 July 2013

Gordon and Mary Olley are closing the Breckland Photographic studio after 24 years in Dereham. Picture: Ian Burt

Gordon and Mary Olley are closing the Breckland Photographic studio after 24 years in Dereham. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant © 2013

A Norfolk town is set to be without a full time professional photographic studio for the first time in 110 years after the last remaining one closed its doors.

Gordon Olley and his wife Mary have run Breckland Photographic in Norwich Street for 24 years.

Over the years, they have photographed the likes of Cliff Richard and Prince Edward, taken wedding photos of brides they first photographed as babies and done the wedding photos for two generations of families.

But a drop in business and high overheads forced them to make the tough decision to close their store on Friday.

The couple, who used to run Breckland Electronics in Watton, will continue to do wedding photos from their home in Wendling, but otherwise will look forward to spending time in their garden.

Mrs Olley, 63, who used to work as a florist, said: “We feel very sad. We will miss meeting people, we just love meeting people from different walks of life.

“Youngsters don’t appreciate professional photography today, they are happy to have ones taken on their phones or compact cameras.

“They haven’t got the money to spend on professional photography and for weddings, they do it on the cheap and get their friends or families to do the photos.”

The couple started Breckland Photographic 26 years ago and after two years running the business in their electrical shop, Breckland Electronics, in Watton, they opened the studio in Dereham.

Mr Olley, chairman of the Dereham Photographic Club, has been a member of the Master Photographers Association for about 20 years and has won a string of awards for his photography.

Dereham previously boasted four high street photographic studios with Herbert Cave, Studio Kyber and Ronald Newell all becoming well known names.

Mr Olley, who has three sons and five grandchildren, said: “We’ve seen lots over the years: fashion has changed, style has changed, weddings have changed, the way to take photos has changed.

“The passport side of the business has grown and we have people come from all over Norfolk to us because we’ve built up a reputation.

“It’s going to be bit of a jolt closing.”

Anyone with inquiries will still be able to contact Breckland Photographic on 01362 693476 or by going to www.brecklandphotographic.com.

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