AFTER surviving a horrendous house fire, a botched operation and the devastation of redundancy, one aptly-named man is finally getting his life back on track.
Michael Hope, of Hendon, saw his life fall apart over a two-year period as he lost his home and his job as a studio photographer.
But through the support of his family he has turned things around and is now running a fledgling photography business that is growing by the day.
The 41-year-old said: “The fire happened in March 2011. I had been away for a day trip to York and when I got home I turned on the TV and went into the kitchen to make some food.
“I heard a pop, like the sound of a bulb going, and went back into the lounge to find the television had burst into flames.
“The whole thing was on fire and within seconds it had spread up the wall and soon the ceiling was alight.
“I could not put it out and as it was an electrical fire all the lights went out so the house was plunged into darkness.
“I had to crawl on my stomach out of the house.”
As a result of the blaze Michael was left with £80,000 of damage, which included needing a new kitchen, bathroom, windows and floors.
But his bad luck continued as soon afterwards he had to undergo surgery to correct a previous procedure which had gone wrong, and on his return to work he was told he no longer had a job.
Michael, born in Washington, said: “I had originally had a hernia operation back in 2004 but I started to get back pain again and having had it before I knew the pain was the same.
“I went to the doctor and they said I was going to need another operation and after I had the procedure they said that last time it hadn’t been done right.”
He added: “This meant I had then to recover from the operation but when I went back to work, a day earlier than I was meant to, I was told I was being made redundant.
“I had worked at the photo studio for five years, so when they told me I felt devastated as I had not missed a days work since the day I left school.”
But the despair at losing his job started to motivate him to think about starting his own business and, after a lot of hard work, Michael Hope Photography is now up and running.
He said: “Starting to work from home has been a godsend. People had been telling me for years that I should start up myself but I had been putting it off.
“Now I’ve started, though, I can say it is definitely one of the best things I have ever done.
“I have started photographing weddings and portraits and my website has just gone live, which is really good.
“The support of my mum and girlfriend has been incredibly important and I could not have done it without them.
“The past few years have been very challenging and going self-employed was a big step but it is definitely the best thing I have ever done.”
Michael also recently won four Master Photographers’ Association National Awards. His website can be visited at www.mhopephoto.com.