Thank You Terry Swift
Batley Bulldogs were founded in 1880, meaning there is plenty of history surrounding the club. As you can imagine, bringing 138 years of history into the future with us isn’t the easiest thing. Thanks to Terry Swift, however, that has been made a lot easier. Here’s how Terry has helped us.
Who is Terry Swift?
Terry is a former Batley Bulldogs photographer, and an avid fan of the club. From 1949, he has watched on from the stands as an enthusiastic fan, photographer, and journalist. Although this sounds like a lot of roles connected to the club, this was all in his own time: as a ‘day job’ Terry was a college lecturer in Economics, a far cry from his part-time role as a freelance sports photographer.
How Terry started photographing the team
In 1973, Terry noticed that there was a lack of photo coverage of the Batley Bulldogs matches in the local newspapers. As a big fan of the team, this caused him to be disappointed. Determined to do something about it, Terry decided that he would try to photograph the team himself; he didn’t know how we was going to get the photographs published in the local papers, however.
On a trip to Hull, a news reporter spotted Terry with his camera. During a conversation with Terry, the reporter said that he should submit any good photographs that he captured to the local paper. Following the chance conversation with the news reporter, Terry attended a night course at Batley Art College and purchased all the necessary equipment to kickstart his career photographing the team.
Purchasing photography equipment and attending a night course paved the way for Terry to photograph the Bulldogs for over 20 years. From 1973 to 1996, Terry voluntarily photographed the team in his own time, submitting the photographs to the local newspaper, Batley News, and a variety of Rugby League newspapers and magazines. For away matches Terry often travelled with the players, building a rapport with club and supporters that still exists now.
How Terry promoted not just Batley Bulldogs, but the sport we love
Although it was occasionally difficult for Terry to attend all Batley Bulldogs events due to his job as a lecturer, he notably photographed the 1978 Reunion. In addition, he attended many a junior tournament on behalf of the club to photograph the action.
As the photographer of the Bulldogs, he became widely known locally. This meant that he also covered the action for a variety of other local teams whenever he had chance. On many notable occasions, he could be spotted photographing other local teams competing in the Amateur Cup finals.
Alongside his photography and college lecturer role, Terry somehow found the time to also create a weekly column for the Rugby Leaguer Newspaper as Batley Rugby League correspondent.
Helping the Heritage Project
For the Heritage Project, we wanted to gather information and photographs from the entire history of the team. This proved, and is proving, difficult, but Terry contributed a hugely significant amount of material such as photographs. As a lifetime fan of the club, he was more than happy to help us use his photography to build a picture of the team’s history.
All of the photography provided has helped us to educate younger fans of the team, and Terry will continue to play a big part in the project. We just want to say a huge thank you to Terry for providing us with such a vast collection of club photography for our Heritage Project!