My name is Les Wilcockson, I’m 63 years old and am happily married to my wife Alison.
I also have a daughter and two step-daughters and, like many people here, I have always lived in Chesterfield.
Whilst I spent much of my career in the construction industry, I developed an interest in photography in my early teens from my father. I started photographing weddings and portraits in my spare time while at the same time advancing my full-time career.
Approximately ten years ago, after being made redundant due to the recession, my wife suggested that I should do what I’d always wanted to do, become a full time professional photographer.
So, eight years ago, I set up Vision Photo Training and have been running photography training courses in Chesterfield, Derbyshire and the Peak District ever since.
To date I’ve had more than 140 clients. Many have joined my group courses, but I also run one-to-one courses for anyone who prefers to visit a specific place and have their course tailored to their exact requirements and needs.
1. What’s your best memory of the town?
I have great memories of sport in the town. Chesterfield making the semi-final of the FA cup, watching Derbyshire play Yorkshire at cricket on Queens Park and, more recently, watching the finish of the Aviva Women’s Tour of Britain. That was an extremely well organised event – credit to Chesterfield.
2. What development do you think will make the biggest difference to the town?
The redevelopment of the old Co-op building, the Chesterfield Waterside project and the planned work for the Northern Gateway will all make huge differences to the town.
3. How would you describe Chesterfield to someone who has never visited?
I would describe Chesterfield as a picturesque market town with great history, one of the best open air markets in the country. It is also a great location close to the beautiful Peak District.
4. What are the positives of running a business here?
For my particular business of photography training, it’s being surrounded by fabulous countryside and nearby stately homes with gardens.
5. Who or what do you turn to in Chesterfield for business advice?
A fellow Chesterfield Champion and old school friend has been a great help to me.
6. Why did you choose to base your business in Chesterfield?
I chose to base my business in Chesterfield as Derbyshire and the Peak District is my palette for what I do.
7. Who do you admire in the community?
I admire sole traders in the community. As one myself, I know the struggle but know the freedom too.
8. What advice would you give to someone establishing a business here?
Become a Chesterfield Champion and make use of the networking opportunities. Get good marketing advice before spending money on advertising, websites and promoting your business.