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Professional musician devastated by MS diagnosis turns to photography

PUBLISHED: 17:08 10 December 2013 | UPDATED: 17:08 10 December 2013

Horsey Mill by Joe Lenton. Picture: Joe Lenton

Horsey Mill by Joe Lenton. Picture: Joe Lenton


A professional musician who had to give up his job teaching guitar lessons due to ill-health has found a new focus in life after taking up photography.

In January 2012, Joe Lenton woke up one morning with his hand feeling numb.

When the feeling did not go away and actually spread throughout his body he sought medical help.

The 35-year-old, who lives in Hethersett with his wife Birgit, was eventually diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and he was devastated to learn that he will never be able to play the guitar as well as he used to, due to the loss of feeling in his hand.

The former Norwich School pupil, who has also had to give up playing squash, said: “We’re still waiting to see how often I relapse and when the symptoms are at their most severe.

“It has improved, but I still have not regained the full sensation in my hands and it leaves me with real fatigue on a regular basis.”

Mr Lenton continued to try to take regular walks around the village, but often found he became very tired, very quickly. He decided to borrow his wife’s compact camera and the frequent stops to take photographs along his walk slowed him down and meant that he was able to walk further and for longer.

As his interest grew, he invested in a better camera and joined Wymondham Photographic Society.

It became Mr Lenton’s aim to work towards more official recognition of his burgeoning skill and his work paid off when in the space of one month he was awarded three licentiates, from the Royal Photographic Society, the Disabled Photographers’ Society and the Society of International Nature and Wildlife Photographers respectively.

He said: “Initially it was very much a creative therapy. Then I began enjoying it more and more and one or two people wanted to buy images from me. Then I started to think about doing it more seriously.

“I have now done some portraits and sold a few landscapes, which I particularly like doing. I have done a seasonal calendar for 2014 of the landscapes, as well as selling them as greetings cards and prints.”

Mr Lenton, who now has his own photography business and website, said: “At the moment I’m looking to do an exhibition or maybe work with a gallery.”

His website can be found at

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