A TAEKWONDO black belt gave up a highly-paid health and safety job to stay with his loved ones in Royal Wootton Bassett.

Nick Evans set up occupational health and safety firm Safewell 13 years ago after shunning a highly-paid job out of the area to stay near his friends and family.

And he balances his business efforts with training youngsters at his Move It Taekwondo club - he’s a fifth-degree blackbelt.

He said: “It’s quite unique. I offer health and safety advice but I can also do roundhouse kicks, which makes me stand out a bit from other business owners. I use the same philosophy to run both the club and my company. Focusing on the wellbeing of myself and my team over specific financial goals, and it’s worked well so far. I don’t want my employees to be unhappy. I want them to be proud of the work they do and I want to stay fit and healthy and still be able to spend lots of time with my family."

Mr Evans worked as a health and safety manager for a pharmaceutical company. But a change in senior management prompted him to leave and do his own thing. Initially, he worked alone from home but now has 16 staff in an office complex.

Earlier this year, he won the Wiltshire Business Person of the Year award in the medium-sized businesses category.

He added: “The new bosses didn’t seem to value health and safety as much and I didn’t want to work for an employer like that, and it would have forced me to move far away from people I care about.

“I decided to start a business that would provide occupational health and safety in the way I thought it should be done. It was challenging, I didn’t know anything about how to do it and hadn’t had any prior aspirations to be my own boss, but I was driven and determined and I put all my energy into it.

“One thing that helped me carry on was seeing some of the other business owners who didn’t seem very capable, it made me realise that it wasn’t an impossible task, and I was never afraid to ask for help and get good support.

“Winning the award was a great feeling, it was nice to be acknowledged for the hard work we do.”