A website promoting the growth of Dundee as a cultural icon is about to celebrate its fifth birthday – and its teen founder says he has the Tele to thank.
Dundee Culture was started on August 12 2013 as a hobby project by Harris Academy pupil Andrew Batchelor when he was 12.
He launched it to support the city’s bid for the 2017 UK City of Culture prize – and kept it going after the team behind the bid lavished praise on him.
Now, five years later, more than six million people from 45 countries have visited Dundee Culture and his Facebook page has topped 10,000 likes.
“I never thought it would get to this point,” Andrew, from Claverhouse, told the Tele.
“It’s all gone much better than I expected. I actually wanted to stop Dundee Culture after the 2017 bid but I kept it going because of the support the city gave it.
“And I want to say thank you to the Evening Telegraph for its support over the last five years.
“I don’t think I would be where I am now without it.”
As part of his everyday work on Dundee Culture – which he continues to update daily – Andrew shares news on cultural events across the city. He also shares links to important news articles, including a variety of articles published by the Tele, via his Twitter and Facebook social media feeds.
However, as well as celebrating the city he calls home, Dundee Culture is also a hugely personal project for Andrew.
Now 17, he launched it after being inspired by his aunt Lorraine who has since passed away.
He said the website was a testament to her own personal belief in Dundee as a cultural destination – and to his ability to overcome his own personal obstacles.
Born with cerebral palsy, Andrew’s parents were initially told their son may not be able to walk or talk.
He also has dyslexia, dyscalculia (difficulty with maths), epilepsy and autism.
“My auntie lives on in Dundee Culture, but I’ve also struggled with a lot of my own difficulties,” he explained.
“I feel like that’s not stopped me from doing what I want to do.
“Dundee Culture has been a driving force for that, I think – driving me to show that nothing is impossible.”
Having left Harris last year, Andrew is now setting his sights on a future career – and says his parents are encouraging him to consider expanding his website.
“It’s brilliant that people have been visiting from all over the world. My website has grown with Dundee, which I like,” he said.