Chris has a heighley promising new career after garden centre sale

An entrepreneur is forging a blossoming new career in photography five years after selling one of the North East's best known garden centres

Chris Lishman, centre, with John Laidler from digital print company The Rip, and UNW managing partner Andrew Wilson

An entrepreneur is forging a blossoming new career in photography five years after selling one of the North East's best known garden centres.

Chris Lishman, whose family owned and ran the Heighley Gate Garden Centre, near Morpeth, Northumberland, for 45 years before selling to a national operator in 2008, is now applying his retail skills to his fledgling photography business.

His work recently helped UNW accountants in Newcastle create a talking point at their new meeting rooms, with a mural being printed and installed on a convex wall by Newcastle-based digital printing company, The Rip.

The 46-year-old, who studied commercial photography practice at Leeds Metropolitan University for three years following the Heighley Gate sale, also supplies postcards and greetings cards of the black and white panoramic image for UNW's clients to take away.

Lishman said: “We sold the garden centre because we had been actively pursued by a large, national chain.

“As a family, we would have been foolish not to consider it and given the recent economic climate, I certainly think we made the right decision.

“I had two options at that stage; either to study for an MBA at Durham University or to pursue something I was passionate about but didn't know a lot about.

“I decided to go with the latter.

“When you see your work in print, like on the UNW wall, it really gives you a buzz and makes you so pleased you decided to follow a passion.”

UNW managing partner Andrew Wilson said: “We advise lots of the region's entrepreneurs on their accounting issues, but it's nice to work with two of the region's small businesses on this purely creative project, which adds an eye-catching local focal point to our new reception.”

Lishman also photographs the Newcastle Falcons.

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