Talented north-east teen found his voice behind the lens

Jack Dunne
Jack Dunne

He’s inspirational, his pictures are sensational… and at Crimond Raceway everybody knows him by the name of Raceway Jack.

But away from the circuit 15-year-old Jack Dunne withdraws, turns inward and has no confidence, said his dad John.

You see, Jack, who lives in Macduff, has autism and suffers from hypermobility.

Jack with his family

Despite the challenges he faces, he is one lad who happens to be a dab hand with a camera.

So much so, the action shots Jack captures at Crimond Raceway sell like hotcakes at the racing venue and kind-hearted Jack donates the money to charity.

John, said: “We went on a family holiday to Skegness five years ago and I took Jack and his elder brother Jamie to a speedway track where stock car racing was on.

“My son transformed before my eyes and immediately fell in love with it.”

Enthused by such a change in his son, John, 62, who is retired from the armed forces, put an old Nikon camera in his son’s hand… and then something magical happened.

“From thereon in Jack’s pictures just seemed to get better and better,” added his proud dad.

“As soon as we came home we did some research and found Crimond Raceway was only 16 miles away.

“We’ve been taking him there every fortnight, during the season, ever since.”

By the time 2016 came around, Jack, who attends Banff Academy, was also armed with a second-hand Canon camera and as a consequence he built an impressive picture portfolio.

“Jack decided it would be a good idea to sell off his collection of prints,” said John. “He told me he didn’t want to benefit from the sale – rather he wanted to give the money to charity, specifically one which supports sick children.”

So in 2016 Jack donated just under £500 to Scottish Autism.

Last year The Archie Foundation found themselves the benefactors of £300.

This year Jack has chosen to support Charlie House.

And now the quest to raise money has become a bit of a family affair.

Jack’s mum Lorraine, who is 44, is fully supportive of her son’s talent and encourages him in every way.

She will regulary stay up till 5am to bake goodies to help raise even more money for Charlie House, despite being a full-time carer to Jack’s elder brother, Jamie, 24, who has severe autism.

Younger sister Jodi, 11, who attends Macduff primary, also has the condition.

“We’ve had lots going on this year and never got round to setting up again in time for the start of the season in April,” added John.

“Because we only started halfway through, Jack plans to continue to support Charlie House in 2019.”

Is it any wonder Jack has melted the hearts of so many and made such good friends at Crimond Raceway?

Jack Dunne

Recently, Jack’s youngest sister, Megan, eight, was recruited by Jack to help out.

Specifically, Megan is on cupcake duty and she seeks out donations for mum Lorraine’s legendary cupcakes!

John said: “Put it this way – no cupcakes ever come home.

“They are a big hit at the circuit.”

The biggest change John and Lorraine notice with Jack when he is behind the camera is that he will talk to everyone, laugh and joke.

His confidence soars and his loving parents couldn’t be any the more proud of their boy.

John and Lorraine believe the camera represents a shield for Jack and the switch of focus – down through a lens – is key to his transformation.

“He’s a totally different boy and it is just marvellous to witness,” said John.

“When the camera is in his hand it is like nobody can get near him.”

Jack’s parents also take him to snap his favourite stock car racers at both Cowdenbeath Race Wall and Lochgelly.

Away from the track though, Jack doesn’t have friends. But Raceway Jack has plenty, mainly in the stock car community who are among his 700 plus friends on Facebook!

So does Jack have any aspirations to one day become a stock car racing driver, perhaps?

“He will often sit behind the wheel,” said John.

“But he is definitely at his best behind the lens!”