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    Tree surgeon overcomes diagnosis of Asperger’s to take over family business

    A tree surgeon has overcome a diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome to take over his family business and is now expanding the company.

    Liam Timmins didn’t find out he had the condition until after he had completed one undergraduate degree and a Master’s. He is now running Stan Timmins and Sons, the well-known North East arboricultural company started by his dad Stan, who was one half of BBC Newcastle’s gardening team Stan and Eddie.

    Asperger’s is a high-functioning development disorder on the autism spectrum and people with the condition have incredible attention to detail. That’s something that has helped Liam initially when studying for his degree in accounting and finance, and global financial management, and then in working as a tree surgeon, where precision is all-important.

    Liam had always enjoyed working with his dad and has an excellent head for heights, so it made sense to join the family’s Blyth-based business. His Asperger’s means he follows tenders and specifications to the letter and has been successful in bringing in commercial clients to the business, which previously concentrated on domestic customers. Among the new work is a major contract with a multi-national hotel chain.

    Liam said: “When I was a kid I used to go to work with my dad while other kids were doing paper rounds and he was cutting down trees.

    “I wasn’t diagnosed with Asperger’s until I was 25 but immediately, a lot of things clicked into place and explained why I have this overwhelming attention to detail and am at pains to do the perfect job every time.”

    Dad Stan worked for Newcastle City Council’s horticultural department for decades before setting up in business. Stan was a gardening guru familiar to Radio Newcastle listeners for more than 30 years. He now has a place with the firm as an arboricultural consultant and an extra pair of hands when needed.

    He said: “I’m so proud of Liam and the way he’s taking the business forward. Now he is working on more commercial contracts, we are expanding quickly.”

    Liam is also joining corporate bosses to raise money for an issue close to his own heart. He had a friend with reformed addiction issues who sadly committed suicide. To raise awareness and much-needed funds, Liam will be sleeping under the stars in March during the CEO Sleep Out at St James’s Park.

    The CEO Sleep Out will help to raise vital funds for the Changing Lives Charity, which helped his friend overcome his addiction issues. It will also benefit the Newcastle United Foundation. Liam will be sleeping out in his tree surgeon gear alongside company heads in their suits and is taking donations at his Just giving page at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/liamtimminsceosleepout

    Liam said: “2017 is set to be a big year for Stan Timmins and Son, and I’m looking forward to giving something back too.”

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