A Reffley couple are looking for the subjects of a collection of paintings featuring the cast of two television series and a film that were captured in Lynn decades ago.
Ken, 55, and Debbie Auker, 50, found the huge collection of paintings following the death of Ken’s father, David Auker, on December 23, 2011.
A keen amateur painter, Mr Auker discovered his talent as a young man growing up in Welwyn Garden City. He attended Hitchin High School where he discovered a love of photography and horse jumping which he went on to win prizes in. In his spare time, he also enjoyed model making, painting, carving, using oils and sketching.
His son, Ken, said: “He was really good with his hands, it’s a shame it hasn’t rubbed off on me. At that time, there was no option of sitting in front of the television all day, the kids made their own hobbies and he was a product of the time.”
Mr Auker joined the RAF Signals in 1942 and was soon posted to India, he painted a collection of watercolours while on the board ship and in India which feature a selection of animals and sights he saw on his journey.
After the war, he married Nancy in the 1950s and went on to have two sons. He worked at Hawker Siddley Aviation in Hatfield for 20 years and throughout this time he continued to build the intricate models of yachts and aeroplanes and painted.
The family emigrated to New Zealand in 1973 and returned a few years later, with plans to move to Lynn in 1976.
Sadly, on the day of the move, the family were involved in a fatal car accident which claimed the life of his wife, Nancy.
Ken said: “His legs were in a bad way and he never fully recovered from that. He never worked again and was on his own for a while.
“At this time, the fact that he could get out and drive gave him something to do and kept him going at this point. He used to go out into the town when they were filming Revolution and Dickens to take pictures and would paint them later.”
Film crews took over Lynn’s town centre in 1985 to film big-budget feature film, Revolution, which starred Al Pacino, Donald Sutherland and Annie Lennox, and saw 3,000 locals attending the auditions to become extras.
Less than ten years later, in June 1994, BBC crews took over to film a five-part dramatisation of Charles Dickens’ Martin Chuzzlewit featuring Paul Scofield, Keith Allen and Pete Postlethwaite.
Ken said: “I was an extra in Revolution and father would sit behind the directors and take photographs of the filming and the characters. I was in a lot of the film and really enjoyed it, I was in my late 20s at the time and getting paid £20 a day which was good money for sitting around waiting to be called.
“I can remember being called up for a night shift and sitting in a boat at the Quay being sent off to war. He would take the photographs and paint them later, we’ve got loads of the buildings going up and the cast.”
He added: “When Dickens was filmed, father used to go down to King or Queen Street when they were filming and do the same but I didn’t know until after.”
The couple are now hoping that those who worked as extras in the filming of both Dickens and Revolution might recognise themselves in the pictures and want copies.
If you would like to find out more about the paintings, call Ken on 01553 673003 or email email@example.com