A Spen pet shop has been nominated for an award after becoming one of the most heartwarming business stories in Kirklees.
Hecky Pets, based in Market Street, Heckmondwike, featured in the Spenborough Guardian last month after brave Liam Gawthorpe, 18, set up the business despite having serious health problems, to leave a legacy for his two younger brothers.
Now the business, which is co-run by his father, Neil, has been nominated for the Reporter Series New Business of the Year award, and Neil paid tribute to the strength and determination of his son.
He said: “Liam wanted to show everyone that even with an illness, you can still be successful if you have the passion and drive to achieve your dreams.”
Liam was born with heart and lung conditions, and had to undergo emergency surgery three years ago for a brain abscess.
He could not find work, so used his skills to make bird boxes and planters. After three months of success selling the boxes on eBay, he opened a stall on Heckmondwike market, which grew into a pet supplies stall.
The business was so successful, Liam and Neil, who run it together, opened their independent store, Hecky Pets, in Market Street in February.
The shop also provides opportunities for people with learning difficulties.
Neil added: “I am so proud of the way he, his brothers and mum all stick together regardless of what is happening.
“He is an inspiration to everybody that speaks to him. He motivates people just by telling his story. To see him carry on is phenomenal.”