Young achiever Donna Preece
PUBLISHED: 14:02 04 February 2013 | UPDATED: 22:41 20 February 2013
Photographer Donna Preece is celebrating success with help from The Prince's Trust
Five years ago Donna Preece from Ryton-on-Dunsmore felt her life was going nowhere fast. It felt like I had reached a dead end and couldnt see any resolution, she says. Today, aged 29, life couldnt be any more different. She runs a successful photography business and has just been awarded runner-up prize in the Samsung Young Achiever of the Year Award at The Princes Trust and Samsung Celebrate Success Awards West Midlands, at Aston Villa Football Club.
The award recognises young people who have overcome barriers to transform their lives and Donna was nominated by Debbie Allmey for turning her life around. I was chuffed to bits that Debbie even nominated me. It was beyond any expectation I had, says Donna.
Donnas life has not always been easy. Her parents split up when she was two and difficulties at home meant she had to support her mother and sister as she grew up. It is difficult for any child to take on. You are subjected to trying to being an adult in difficult circumstances, she says. Finding herself the victim of crime and a couple of health scares also took their toll and she was left with little self-confidence or self esteem. Then, in 2005, Donna moved to London to pursue a career in interior design, after studying fine art at Coventry University. She got a job with a property developer but the recession hit. Life in London became unsustainable and she returned to Warwickshire unsure where her future lay.
I was happy to be back with my family but at the same time I needed to find ways to make me happier in life, she says.
Photography had always been a passion so she bought a camera and set about trying to make a living out of it. She approached The Princes Trust for help and was given a loan and a business mentor, Bob Scott. Bob has been the most valuable element of the entire process. He is the reason why I was not as scared as before, as I knew he was there for me, she says.
Bob says: When I first met Donna shewas facing personal challenges but thanks to the support of The Princes Trust she has grown into a confident young woman. She is an exceptionally talented photographer and I was very proud when she was named runner-up in The Samsung Young Achiever of the Year Award at Celebrate Success.
Donna launched her photography business, Iris Aperture Photography, (www.irisaperture.co.uk ) in October 2010 and has been commissioned to work all over the UK, and further afield including Australia and China. She is also a lecturer at Coventry University, on the fine arts course, and now life couldnt be brighter.
If you had told me five years ago what I would achieve I wouldnt have believed it as I am always quite sceptical. Now the future holds whatever I want it to, she says.