Goodbye to Andy and his Fantastic Eye - by Jayne Baldwin

The new programme for the annual Wigtown Book Festival was released online last week.

The cover of the new book features a wonderful photograph of the town’s County Buildings at night, the illuminated windows displaying the amazing art work of the artist in residence Astrid Jaekel. The photograph was taken by Andy Farrington, who over the last few years became a familiar face at the book festival.

This year, however, he will be conspicuous in his absence. After the festival last year Andy was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Earlier this week, his funeral was held, as was a celebration of his life.

Andy moved to the area only a few years ago but his outgoing, generous spirit meant that he threw himself into life in Wigtownshire.

I first met Andy as a volunteer at the Book Festival where he was always friendly, welcoming and ready to help.

Last year he’d been buzzing about being the festival’s official photographer and when I saw, he was tired and still had lots of work to do on the photographs he’d taken which would later appear in the local and national press. Despite the workload he was upbeat and cheery.

He greeted the news of his diagnosis with the same proactive, positive attitude and took to blogging about his remaining time on ‘Planet Paradise’.

Andy was a keen participant in the geograph photography project which aims to collect a geographically representative photo for every square kilometre of the British Isles. His determination often took him to odd and difficult places – like small rocks off the Wigtownshire coast.

The way Andy and his partner Anni quickly became an integral part of this community means that his death has affected a huge number of people.

If you hadn’t been lucky enough to meet him, take a look at the way he saw and celebrated this beautiful area we live in at www.fantasticeye.co.uk.