The risk of redundancy led a South Tyneside man to spread his wings with a new business venture – and it’s not strictly for the birds.
Ian Curry runs Angel White Dove Release – catering for wedding, funerals and other memorial events.
The long-term bird lover was thrust into employment limbo when he was told his job as a day opportunities officer with South Tyneside Council was under threat, last February.
He was later offered a position as a support worker at the Holder House Allotment Project in Whiteleas, South Shields, where he decided he would use his passion for birds to help raise money for the scheme.
The project provides a place for people – including those with learning and physical disabilities, the elderly and school pupils – to learn about horticulture.
After buying and being donated doves, he set about launching Angel White Dove Release.
Mr Curry, 41, said: “I’ve always had an interest in birds.
“After about 20 years without them, I saw some white doves in show cages outside a jewellers in King Street and I enquired about them. When they told me what they were for I thought it was a good idea and something I could do.”
The birds have been trained by Mr Curry.
Mr Curry, who helped to set up the South Tyneside Cage Bird Society, and has won a number of prizes at bird competitions, has also offered the service to charities by getting people to bid for a two-dove release.
The father-of-two from the Fellgate Estate, Jarrow, said: “Training the birds has been a joy and I have been able to do releases for friends at a much more competitive price compared to other similar businesses.
“I’m in the process of looking to create a Community Interest Company from my idea and I am currently on the waiting list for an allotment so I can build a pigeon loft.
“I’d love to one day be able to involve some of the people I support in the hobby I love.
“I’d like to say a huge thank you to Holder House project manager Chris Convery, who supported and offered me advice in setting up the project.”
For information or to hire the doves for release, call Mr Curry on 07758 230 834 or search Angel White Dove Release on Facebook.