A WEDDING photographer who usually covers events across Hampshire and Dorset decided to use his skills to document his time spent helping with ventilator building in Hook during the coronavirus pandemic.

Stan Primmer, 63 from Reading, was forced to look for alternative work when the lockdown restrictions put an end to his usual income.

“Almost immediately there were weddings being cancelled until 2021 and the longer lockdown went on, the more obvious it was that it was going to be a long term thing,” said Stan.

In May, he began work with Surface Technology International (STI) based in Hook, packing up completed ventilators and getting them onto the lorries, ready to be taken to where they were needed.

STI was one of over 80 UK companies to get involved in the Ventilator Challenge UK Consortium, set up to produce ventilators for the NHS.

The electronics manufacturing company was given national recognition for its response to the coronavirus pandemic earlier this year, after the team completed its 10,000th ventilator unit at the end of June.

“It was amazing. I felt so proud that I did it,” he said.

“There was difficult moments, when one of the supplying companies hadn’t delivered and we were without parts, but everyone struggled through it and, when the parts were there, the speed was back to get the ventilators put together.”

Although enjoying playing his part in the team, Stan saw an opportunity to use his artistic skills to document behind the scenes of the operation in a day spent putting together a collection of over 500 candid photographs.

“I spoke to the bosses of the project and suggested it to them. They said it needs that memory to be there in print form or even digital form. So they can look back on it and and see that we did that to help the nation get through that time.”

With his bosses, Stan found a day when his role could be covered by another team member. He says most of the team were “excited” to be part of the project, even if a little camera shy at first.

Stan also hopes the photos will give others a better idea of the important work carried out.

The team in Hook did have a “second surge” of ventilator building, but now Stan is looking for new employment. He hopes it won’t be too long before he’s back with his camera in hand.

“That’s my wish, but the longer it goes on and the more I have financial difficulty, you have to make a decision sometimes about whether you can wait it out.

“I loved doing the photography and I loved spending that day out, and I loved editing and uploading the pictures afterwards.”

The full ‘Ventilator Challenge UK 2020’ collection can be viewed at: https://stanprimmerphotography.shootproof.com/gallery/12381181/