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[Roger Dymond]
Roger Dymond
(1960 – 1999, softography)

Roger Dymond may not be a familiar name to most, but his story is an inspirational one for, it highlights just how much the home computer era of the 80's made a difference in everyone's life. It certainly made a difference in Roger's life.

Roger suffered from Asperger's Syndrome and as such he had a difficult childhood. The schools didn't know how to handle him, he had very few friends and was bullied at school. It was then that Roger's parents, Josephine and Barry Dymond, decided to send him to the Rudolf Steiner School at Aberdeen.

Roger, however, didn't take to the new school immediately and Josephine feels that he never forgave them for sending him there. However, the school did help Roger take control of his life and by the time he left the school at age 18, he had changed quite a bit for the better. He had become organised and was determined to succeed at everything he did.

Josephine recounts the transformations thus: "At nineteen he terrified me by saying he wanted to travel abroad, off he went, on his own, having organised it to the letter, to France, Italy, Germany, and later to the Philippines. At age 23 he terrified me again by announcing that he was going to learn to drive, he passed first time, and then passed his advanced driving test 18 months later."

Roger was a great nature lover and gardening was one of his favourite past-times and he even had a Council Gardening apprenticeship. Unfortunately, when he was made redundant at the job at age 20, he was left with a very grave future. Having had very little formal training and no certificates to his name, his job prospects were very slim.

That was when Roger acquired a ZX81 and in the process acquired a friend for life - the computer. One of Barry's colleagues dropped in three four times to help Roger get acquainted with the ZX81 and pretty soon Roger was on his way. After a while, Roger went to the local technical school and won prize as best student in Computing in the first year.

Roger began developing software on the ZX81 and soon moved on the Spectrum as soon as it was released. He taught himself machine code and went on to program his first game "Roulette". He then went on to write a collection of children's games which were good enough to encourage the Dymond's to have their own stall at the Computer Show in Pudsey, Leeds, which got a very enthusiastic response from everyone.

The Dymond's sold their own software with Roger writing all the games, Barry doing the marketing and cassette covers, Josephine doing the advertising, packaging as well as the delivering and correspondence. This way they managed to sell around £1000 of games but the cost of advertising made further sales difficult.

A year after all this, Roger bagged a job at Dumfries and Galloway Educational School, programming and troubleshooting systems for all the Dumfriesshire schools where he worked till he died suddenly of a heart condition five years ago.

Acknowledgements: Josephine and Barry Dymond for the inputs. Simon Webb curator of Swindons' Museum of Computing for putting me in touch with them. Geoff Wearmouth for pointing me at the right places.

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