South Shields cancer survivor turns his hand to photography

A cancer survivor who now supports others as they face their own fight for life has found a new passion in photography.

Monday, 23rd May 2016, 10:48 am
Updated Monday, 23rd May 2016, 11:51 am
Mayor and mayoress Richard and Patricia Porthouse receive a gift from John Pattison

John Pattison was diagnosed with lymphoma when he was 18.

He was told the cancer was terminal. However, it was a fight he battled and won.

Unfazed, he got on with his life, training as a haematology nurse.

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The 59-year-old, who was left with a number of health problems as a result of his cancer battle, works three days a week at South Tyneside District Hospital – the place where his cancer was diagnosed.

And after being given a camera 14 months ago as a present, he has turned his spare time into a long-running photography project.

Last week, as a parting gift to the Mayor of South Tyneside Coun Richard Porthouse and his wife Patricia as they came to the end of their year in office, he presented the couple, with one of his images of the Town Hall at dusk.

Mr Pattison, from South Shields, said: “Since I was handed the camera I have found a new passion for photography. Being diagnosed with cancer does give you a new outlook on life, and you don’t take things for granted. You live each moment.

“I’m hoping one day to make a career out of my photography work.”

Mr Pattison, whose only daughter Donna also battled her way back to health following a cancer diagnosis, says he has chosen to specialise in Native American Indians and has already shot 2,000 images.

He added: “Eventually I’m hoping to do some freelance work centred around Native American Indians.”

The image of the Town Hall at night was presented to Coun Porthouse and his wife during a visit by Mr Pattison to Jarrow Town Hall.

Coun Porthouse said: “It is remarkable what John has achieved. He has not only gone through his own cancer battle but he is helping to support others as they go through theirs.

To see a sample of Mr Pattison’s work, visit