A DARWEN dad has used his army experience in Northern Ireland to inspire a series of paintings.

Father-of-two Bobby Ta-it was a paratrooper at the height of the troubles and came close to losing his life on a number of occasions.

Now the 47-year-old is hoping he can use his artwork to raise the profile of the needs of disabled soldiers.

The Blackburn College student is making a career change from his background in shipping and is using his experiences of Northern Ireland as part of his Fine Art degree.

He has taken each lasting memory and transferred it on to canvas at University Centre at Blackburn College as part of his final project.

“There was one situation where we were in a Land Rover in a cul-de-sac and the boarded-up houses blew up just feet from our car,” said Bobby.

“Another incident was when a young girl with a pram walked past a car and a bomb went off.

“Car bombs were regular occurrences in Northern Ireland but obviously these were instances which stuck in my mind. These could have been the last images I saw as I could have died in each one.”

Bobby is originally from Glasgow but work and family saw him settle in Darwen.

His background is in shipping, freight and European logistics but he now wants to pursue a career in art.

He said: “I have always been interested in art and, around five years ago, I split up with my wife and I got custody of our two boys. My priorities changed and I decided I would try and do something which I liked which is why I signed up to the college. I loved the course and obviously it brought back a lot of memories.”

“This has changed my outlook. I don’t want to go back to logistics but want to do something with art. My two sons Andrew and Bobby are now 25 and 18 so I am on my own and ready to see what opportunities there are.”