THEY say a picture is worth a thousand words and that has never been more true than for photographer Richard Raynor.

When Mr Raynor, from Chilton, near Harwell, had a stroke in 2012 he was left with almost complete loss of speech as he developed aphasia – a communication difficulty with speaking, reading and writing.

The former business consultant turned to photography as a release and his sensational snaps have now earned him a national accolade in the Life After Stroke Awards.

Not only that, but his photos also helped him give a speech at his own wedding using slides.

Mr Raynor said: "In the early days, I had very little speech and had to learn the sounds of letters again.

"Going off with my camera and trying to find beautiful images was something I could enjoy and not be overwhelmed by words.

"I love people and nature and am comfortable with a lens looking to catch moments of interest, beauty, and emotion."

The 36-year-old was treated at Oxford Centre for Enablement (OCE) in Headington, where he spent three months taking on speech and language therapy.

It was through this work, supported by the Buckinghamshire Community Head Injury Service, that Mr Raynor was introduced to the centre's photography group.

He said: "Photography became my hobby soon after I had a stroke in 2012.

"I had luckily purchased a DSLR [camera] just before my stroke. It got its first use during the three months I was in the hospital.

"It has developed from there and my pictures have become more professional thanks to the support of Mark Lord.

"He is a brilliant photographer and I feel privileged to have been placed with him through the Buckinghamshire Head Injury Team.

"I have learned so much from him over the past few years.

"I am hugely grateful for this time and am honoured to now call him my friend."

Mr Raynor's work has since been recognised by the Stroke Association and bagged him the creative arts award in the Life After Stroke Awards.

Stroke Association chief executive, Juliet Bouverie, said: "Richard is undoubtedly hugely talented, and his infectious positivity and inspiring attitude to his recovery shine through his photos."

Mr Raynor is now setting up a community interest company called PhotoAvenue to teach disadvantaged people about photography.

He added: "I feel so lucky to have found photography as it has helped me gain confidence and new skills at a time in my life when I really needed it.

"In turn, I would really like to help other people who may feel isolated by a disability gain confidence and new skills and knowledge that new possibilities are out there with help and support from other people."

To see more pictures from Mr Raynor see