Fighting back into business

Patricia Purvis from Floral Whispers
Patricia Purvis from Floral Whispers

A COURAGEOUS entrepreneur has gone into business after an eight-year fight to cope with multiple sclerosis.

Patricia Purvis, 29, quit her career in the health service after suffering blurred vision and being diagnosed with MS at 21.

But she refused to let it get her down. Now she is running her own floristry firm called Floral Whispers, in the Indoor Market Hall of the Middleton Grange Shopping Centre, in Hartlepool.

She and partner Mark Arnold, 34, part own the business. As well as flowers, the business also has its own app called The Bad Boyfriend Club.

Husbands and boyfriends access it online. Depending on the level of shame they feel, they buy presents from level one if they’ve come home late from the pub, to level four for one last chance to redeem themselves.

Patricia’s life was put on hold when she suffered an inflammation of the optic nerve. She had primary progressive MS, usually diagnosed in people in their forties or fifties.

She was treated at the Sunderland Eye Infirmary and given medication, but reacted badly to it and became medicine-free.

Everything was fine until a blood clot two years ago which burst at the back of her right eye. She needed a return visit to Sunderland Eye Infirmary and had eight lots of laser treatment.

But optimistic Patricia decided to think of the positives.

She said: “It was a chance for a career change.” She got floristry qualifications and started her own company. She has yet to have a bad day with the MS but said: “If I do, I will just get on with it, but if you are in an environment you like, it’s a lot easier.”

She wants to start delivery of her products by post around the country, and hold workshops.

She also runs a Lonely Bouquet scheme - leaving flowers in randomly chosen areas of the town with a message on for people to take them.

“I just find it nice that I can work for myself and manage my own workload,” said Patricia, originally from Durham and now living in Hartlepool. And she’s not averse to hard work.

“I usually have to get up and get to the wholesalers for the flowers by 4am and then spend the day in the shop until 4.30pm or 5pm.

“The people of Hartlepool have been lovely and I have some great feedback.”

l Mail view: Page 8