A Middlesbrough dad, whose world fell apart after a series of personal traumas, says he now sees an exciting new future with the launch of his photographic business.
Dave Worton was 17 when he was shocked to discover that he had been adopted. “It all changed,” he said. “I suddenly didn’t believe anything that before I thought was true.”
Despite this Dave built a successful career in retail management with ASDA, Benson for Beds and Harveys Furniture.
But the deaths of his mother, father and stepmother in a short space of time and a divorce – albeit amicable – had a catastrophic impact on his mental health.
“It just hit me. I was sick of life. I was sick of everything,” he said. Dave had to give up his job and admits that he was “quite close” to taking his own life.
He recalled: “I had lost interest in all the sports I used to do so my therapist said why don’t you find yourself a new hobby. At the time I liked going out just taking photos with my mobile phone. It got me out and about and improved my mental health. I bought a digital camera and that’s where it all began.”
Three years later he has opened Inspire Photography Services in the Dundas Indoor Market. As well as a portrait studio Dave will be selling his work and the pictures and services provided by three other photographers. He met two of them when discussing their own mental health problems and the third while watching a Middlesbrough match at the Riverside Stadium. “We both got out our cameras to get the lightening when a thunderstorm was coming over,” he said.
Dave specialises in night photography and also wants his pictures to reflect his love of the area where he grew up.
“People are too quick to knock Middlesbrough, Teesside and the North East in general, but some of the scenery we’ve got is astonishing,” he said. “I’ve been up and down the country but I still say that this is one of the best places you can live.”
Dave’s other and main inspiration for his new start is his eight-year-old son Alfie. “I don’t want my son to go through what I went through. There are always positives. There are always answers to questions,” he said.
He hopes his story will help other people who have problems with their mental health. Earlier this month the Office for National Statistics published the latest figures on suicides in the UK. Three-quarters of the people who take their own lives are men and the North East has the highest incidents of suicide – almost double the figure for London.
The launch of Inspire Photography Services was delayed because of the pandemic, but Dave said he is hugely excited at the opening of his studio: “I’ve always wanted to run my own business. I’ve found something I really enjoy.”
Dave is one of a number of new traders in the market alongside Simply Babywear and PM Toys and Collectables. The popular Baby Beautiful has also made a seasonal return.
Market manager David Harris said: “Dave’s photographs are fantastic and we wish him every success with his new venture. We’ve been working very closely with him and our other new and existing businesses to provide the support they need as life starts to get back to normal after the pandemic.
“We have a very interesting mix of businesses here and there really is something for everybody.”