Former Express editor Dave Lafferty shares his memories of Brian Ollier
I FIRST met Brian Ollier when I was just 18 months old. Like thousands of other people across Macclesfield, my parents had commissioned Brian to take my portrait. Forty-two years later, Brian’s picture is still on display in my parents’ house in Langley.
That’s how so many of us will have known Brian, as the man
who briefly entered our lives with a laugh and a smile and a high degree of professionalism and expertise.
I suspect Brian’s work sits proudly on the majority of shelves and mantelpieces in the town. Unsurprisingly I can’t remember our first meeting but I was privileged to get to know Brian better than most during my time as editor of the Macclesfield Express. We had a lot in common, we’d both learned our craft on the Express and both shared a deep passion for our home town and local journalism. We agreed on a lot of things – disagreed on a few as well – but always enjoyed the cut and thrust of our many conversations.
I was delighted when Brian agreed to start his weekly Looking Back column in the Express, his enthusiasm, hard work and passion shone through in his words and pictures and he brought pleasure to thousands over the years. The ‘Brian Ollier Collection’ of photographs and memorabilia is his legacy to our town and its people.
Four weeks ago, Brian called to tell me he was ill. I visited the following morning. After he’d told me the bad news he smiled and said: “Let’s have a bottle of champagne”.
It was only 10am but we polished off the bottle and discussed both the past and the future with a smile on our faces, and just a hint of sadness. I didn’t know it but that would be the last time I would see Brian. I’ll remember him as a kind, intelligent, convivial man right on top of his game professionally but most of all I’ll remember him as a friend.
Today, Macclesfield is a poorer town without Brian Ollier but undeniably richer for having had him around.
Brian’s photos chronicle the changing face of Macclesfield through the ages