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Last Updated: Wednesday, 1 December, 2004, 06:36 GMT
One-armed didgeridoo man praised
Kevin Howard
Kevin originally trained as a photographer
Kevin Howard has turned the frustration of his disability into a thriving and unusual business success.

The 39-year-old from Saltburn, Teesside, was born with severe limb deformities and developed a rare form of arthritis.

He trained as a photographer, but turned to playing the didgeridoo when rejected by employers.

Now the one-armed musician has become the 1000th person to be helped into work by a government-backed scheme.

Mr Howard was helped by Broker North East, a specialist branch of Jobcentre Plus that helps people who have been out of work due to sickness and ill health return to work or self employment.

'Scrap heap'

He has now turned his hobby in to a business and is now running workshops in schools and colleges.

Mr Howard is one of six people whose achievement in getting back to work or self employment were being honoured at an awards ceremony in Newcastle on Wednesday.

He said: "Being unemployed for so long made me feel like I had no prospects in life.

"I was on the scrap heap before my life had really begun. But now I'm living my dream.

"This is a job that I couldn't have wished for. Being self-employed has given me belief in myself that I thought I had lost a long time ago."

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