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Generous print offer allows photography group to put work on display

20th June 2016

A MIDDLEWICH photography group was given a helping hand as they took their pictures out of the electronic world and into print.

Mel Smith of the 21st Century Technology and Camera Group has been working with Middlewich residents for the past two years, developing camera skills and encouraging publication of members’ work.

For some, taking the step from sharing online to in a permanent, printed form was daunting and the lack of a reliable printer meant a planned group exhibition had to be cancelled.

Fortunately Printgrafix in Northwich, run by the wife and daughters of group member Phil Tomlinson, offered their services and advice free of charge meaning the exhibition could go ahead.

Phil said: “Mel came up with this idea but nobody seemed to be getting on board, because people don’t generally print their photos and they aren’t really sure what to do or where to go.

“My wife and daughter run a print company, Printgrafix, so I just brought the two together.

“We are hoping to give people in the Middlewich area an opportunity to join the club and get involved. We hope people will go along and get to see what the group is all about.”

The exhibition, which began last Tuesday, June 14 and runs until this weekend in Arts and Frames, Wheelock Street, is something the group hope to repeat in the future.

Group chair Mel said: "We have had very positive comments from everyone who has seen it, and the group intend to do it again next year.

"It’s a different aspect of photography. It makes you think very carefully about what the photo includes.

"We share our photos with members of the group but it’s another step to say ‘I want to share this with people outside of that environment’.

"When you print photos they look different and we are enlarging them so there is more to think about."

Popular camera group continues under new chair

Wednesday 16th September 2015

THE 21st Century Technology and Camera Group in Middlewich will be restarting under new guidance after founder Cliff Astles retired from chairing the group earlier this year. The group was set up by Cliff to help novices get better at understanding the latest technology and help to teach people how to use their digital cameras.

Melody Smith was an avid member of the group and has now decided to take over as chairwoman and carry the group on, much to the delight of the group’s members. Melody said: “When our original chairman, Cliff Astles decided to resign the group was very keen to continue so I volunteered to take on the role he vacated. I hope to be able to continue his vision to help photographers improve their skills and also find out more about how to use related technology.”

The group holds monthly meetings at Willowmere, East Lane, Middlewich and they will recommence tonight, September 16, at the slightly later time of 7.30pm.

Information and practice with setting up your camera for ‘speed’ shots will be one of the themes of the group meeting, ready for a power boat meeting on Saturday, September 19.

For more information, email Melody at

Special guests snapped at photography event

11th February 2015

A GROUP of special guests made an appearance at the 21st Century Technology and Camera Group’s February meeting.

Congleton MP Fiona Bruce, Middlewich Mayor Cllr Paul Edwards and his wife and consort Cllr Sonya Edwards, as well as the Middlewich town crier Devlin Hobson, all attended the meeting in support of the group.

Professional photographer Owen Lloyd gave a presentation of back to basics digital photography.

Using funds successfully provided by grants from Middlewich Town Council and Cheshire East the group plans to expand its activities, using a recently purchased laptop to help train members to take even better photos, and also to improve the ones already taken, using post photography processing software.

For more information about the group, visit the ‘21st Century Technology n Camera Group’ on Facebook and Group Web Page at


Published in the Middlewich Guardian Newspaper Wednesday 11th March 2015.

Community group making huge strides

20th November 2014

A COMMUNITY group which teaches elderly people how to use modern technology is making huge strides after it was given their second grant in as many weeks.

The 21st Century Technology and Camera Group, which operates from Willowmere Extra Care Development, was set up by 73-year-old photographer Cliff Astles, from Middlewich, in March and has grown to more than 70 members in that time.

Middlewich Town Council has awarded the group with a grant of £250 to help with promotion and activities.

This comes just a week after the group received a £500 grant from Cheshire East Council.

Cliff said: “With this big boost to our funds, we can now look to get some more traditional marketing completed.

“Now with the group firmly established we are continuing to draw new members from most of the local towns in Cheshire, and with the new lower age group for 14 to 17-year-olds, we feel the group has a secure future.”

For more information visit the ‘21st Century Technology n Camera’ group on Facebook or call Cliff on 07971136360.

Technology group awarded community grant

November 6th, 2014

A NEW Middlewich-based community group which helps teach elderly people how to use 21st century technology has been awarded a Community Grant. The 21st Century Technology and Camera Group was set up in March by 73-year-old photographer, Cliff Astles, from Middlewich.

The group has grown to more than 70 members and has now been awarded a Community Grant of £500 by Cheshire East Council. Cliff said: “I’d like to say a big thank you to Cheshire East and the money will be used to help promote the group to a wider community. “The grant will no doubt provide for a more secure future for this new and exciting technology and digital camera community group.”
The grant will also help towards the purchase of equipment for the group which is currently loaned by members and providers.
The group now wants to help the younger community members and encourage them to enjoy photography with a new lower age group of 14 to 17.
For more information on the group visit the 21st Century Technology n Camera group on Facebook or call Cliff Astles on 07971136360.

Newly established community group welcome a special visitor to their meeting

November 5th, 2014

Photography and technology group launch hailed a success

March 19, 2014

THE 21st Century Technology and Camera Group held their first group meeting at Willowmere on Wednesday, March 19.

The evening was a success with than 25 members and guests in attendance including the Mayor of Cheshire East, Dorothy Flude.

Guests enjoyed a presentation by professional photographer Mark Williamson who spoke about his journey from technical college to where he is today.

Clifford Astles, who has organised the group, said: “I was very happy with the number of interested people that turned out for our very first group meeting.

“Members and guests indicated that they had enjoyed the content & structure of the meeting, and were looking forward to the next evening where we are planning to have a short presentation on landscape and wildlife photography, and small group sessions concentrating on the more technical aspects of digital photography, IT and Post Photo Shoot, Software Editing.”

The group offers monthly meetings and will cover topics on technology used today with particular emphasis on digital cameras, post processing photo software, IT and the and the Internet.

The next meeting will be held at Willowmere in Middlewich on Wednesday, April 16.



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