A MAN has discovered an incredible flair for painting... after recovering from a stroke and two heart attacks.

Tony Wates was left needing surgery and lost his peripheral vision in his right eye after experiencing the attacks in 2015.

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But 18 months later, the 69-year-old had the urged to pick up a paintbrush for the first time.

And he now regularly sells his work for hundreds of pounds.

Mr Wates, of Clifftown Parade, in Southend: “My doctors kept telling me that I was bound to have a stroke or heart attack sooner or later, because of my heart condition called Atrial Fibrillation, which means that I get blood clots in my brain.

“I nearly died, the stroke affected me not just physically with my poor peripheral vision, but psychologically as well.

“To say I was no longer myself would be an understatement.”

Before having his stroke and series of heart attacks, the former businessman, who also is dyslexic, ran mobility shop which he gave up after becoming ill. He added: “During the time, my son was in Afghanistan, where he was blown up in the compound but luckily not seriously injured.

“It was a hard time in my life which changes your view of what’s important, like my wife Joy and my son. You have more respect for the better things once you’ve been ill.

“I suddenly then had the urge to start painting, it was about 18 months after my stroke.”

Tony found Joel Kirk, a wildlife artist and teacher from Southend, who was happy to nurture his talent.

Since, he has completed 100 paintings.

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The dad added: “I like forging other classic paintings that artists have done before, like Monet. I’ve also painted my son.

“Before, I hadn’t done anything like this, even though I have an artistic family. I was born into the circus, my mother danced and sang and my father was a musician.

“I guess it’s just a creative bug which runs through people.”

An exhibition of 45 of his paintings will be held at The Forum, on Elmer Avenue, Southend, until March 26.

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