Brand New Start

A Teesside Media & PR specialist has made a brand new start after having to take more than a year off to recover from ‘a little kidney adventure.’

Rob O’Connor had previously worked on major London PR accounts during a busy 20-year career, including a memorable morning with Dame Edna Everage at Heathrow Airport!

And, over the last ten years, he also played a significant role in attracting over two-million people to a dazzling mix of high-profile and smaller scale events on Teesside.

Working alongside Middlesbrough-based promoters Ten Feet Tall, he managed the local & regional PR for hundreds of incredible Teesside comedy adventures, with a string of household names including Frankie Boyle, Michael McIntyre, Lee Evans, Jimmy Carr, John Bishop, Sarah Millican, Alan Carr and bags more besides.

He was also a one-man press office for Middlesbrough Music Live in 2009 & 2010, and helped establish both Saltburn Farmers’ Market and Saltburn Food Festival as two of the most popular foodie events in the country.

But an agonising kidney problem that ‘landed out of nowhere’ quickly brought his PR adventures to a grinding halt.

The little kidney adventure began the day before my birthday in November 2017, an absolutely agonising pain that just landed out of nowhere,” said Rob.

I ended up in hospital on my birthday, having an emergency operation to try and limit the initial kidney damage, followed by another operation a few months later.

It turns out that four months of painful days and sleepless nights is not as much fun as it sounds, and the whole thing left me completely physically and mentally exhausted for at least nine months afterwards.

To give you an idea; I was watching a repeat of Death In Paradise one night. An old episode, I’d seen it before and recognised the story – and I still didn’t guess whodunnnit!”

Thinking it was Mother Nature’s way of telling him he needed to take a break, Rob decided to try and keep life as simple as possible.

I switched my phone off, got a pair of walking boots, and pretty much got back to nature,” said Rob.

Walking on the beach between Redcar and Saltburn, wandering through the woods at Saltburn and Upleatham, having picnics at Locke Park in Redcar, and loving the mighty Eston Hills – it all helped freshen the senses and bring my optimism and enthusiasm come flooding back.”

Now fully recovered, Rob is looking confidently to the future, including a trip to Mexico City later this year to work on an international engineering conference.

Although it’s exciting and enjoyable to work with household names, it’s often much more satisfying to work with small independent artists and businesses – being able to shine a positive light on what they do.

I’m happy to say I already have some great new clients to work with and, at the moment, no two days are the same.”

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