A PHOTOGRAPHER and artist has overcome his disabilities to help others.

John Hardwick was born with shortened limbs as a result of his mother being given the controversial drug thalidomide to treat her morning sickness.

John, 55, from Brighton, used to work as a postal room supervisor at a bank in London before taking early retirement.

He now focuses on expressing his artistic talents through photography and painting and is inspired by locations in East Sussex.

Mr Hardwick, who uses a mobility scooter, regularly travels the full length of Brighton seafront to seek out new content for his artwork.

His distinctive scooter resembles a Harley-Davidson motorbike instead of the more common design, making him easy to spot when out and about.

John attends numerous festivals in the city, including Pride and Disability Pride.

He is keen on motorbikes but handling a heavy motor trike would be too difficult for him.

He says his Supersport scooter is the next best thing.

He said: “He said: “When I meet up with bikers on the seafront all the riders are amazed to discover my Supersport is actually a scooter.

“It is perfect for me as parking is a nightmare in Brighton.

“It’s light to steer and avoiding hazards on the pavement such as big bins and tree stumps is no problem.

“I cruise up and down the seafront and driving over soft wet grass at festivals is a doddle.

“It also lets me get out and find inspiration.

“I’ve had addiction problems in the past and my scooter keeps me away from returning to my old ways.

“It keeps my mind off drinking and ensures I don’t get lonely or bored.”

John is a regular volunteer for a local charity which supports people affected by stroke and aphasia, a communication disorder, and helps with fundraising stalls and events.

He is an advocate of sensible driving and safety for all.

He also believes all scooter owners should stick to the Highway Code.

He said: “Even though my Supersport can do eight miles an hour, I always stick to four on the pavement.

“Safe driving is so important.

“You must always be aware of what’s around you, especially people walking and looking at their phones.

“I have high visibility smiley face stickers on my scooter and I am keen to get other scooter users together so we can share safe driving advice.

“I did speak to the BBC One Show a while ago about it.

“I am also trying to arrange a convoy down Brighton seafront to raise awareness about road safety.”