A REALITY TV star has battled back from cancer to open his own Morpeth business.
Mechanic Sandy Fairbairn, 30, achieved national fame after appearing in two series of hit Discovery Channel show The Garage, featuring a team of workers in Spain.
But now the local lad is returning to his Northumberland roots to start his own service and repair centre after a fight with testicular cancer made him rethink his life.
The former Ashington High School pupil, who has worked with cars since the age of nine, opened the garage for business in Coopies Lane, Morpeth, this week and he can't wait for customers to pour in.
"I wanted to make a future for myself and this is my future," he said.
"I have been on television and other things, but this is what I want to do — run my own garage, specialising in four-wheel drives and performance cars.
"I have had time to think and I have made a decision about what I want to do with my life. For two years after the cancer my head was spinning and I was just drifting around, but now I have decided to enjoy myself and settle down.
"Hopefully this is my big break."
Mr Fairbairn has vast experience of the industry since gaining three mechanic apprenticeships when he left school at 16.
He enjoyed spells at Morpeth garages Jennings Ford and Benfield Motors, before moving on to the job of supervisor at Kwik-Fit.
In 2003 he moved to the Wirral to continue his climb up the career ladder, but at the age of 28 he was diagnosed with cancer.
"I was shocked, especially being so young. I think everybody I knew was shocked and in a way it was worse for them because they couldn't do anything about it.
"I just accepted it as one of those things. There is no point dwelling on it."
Fortunately, the fitness fan made a full recovery from his ordeal and within three weeks was back in the gym, while just five months later he was jetting out to the Costa del Sol as one of the English Mobile Mechanics for The Garage.
Mr Fairbairn quickly became one of the stars of the show and in the recent second series was given an episode dedicated to his story.
"The Garage has definitely helped me," he said.
"A lot of people know me and know my character from the series. I have already had people coming into the garage when I have been sorting it out to talk to me about the show.
"My mates take the mickey out of me about it, but at the end of the day it is something I have done and achieved."
Although Mr Fairbairn has not ruled out filming a third series, he is now focused on his new venture and insists he will only take part if the camera crews come to Morpeth.