A COLNE man with autism has started his own business selling hand-designed craft bags across the world.

Jonathan Drinkwater, 25, has sold the bags he designs and creates to Australia, New Zealand, the USA and Germany.

He was given just 15 days to live when he was born brain-damaged and needed open-heart surgery. But his mum, Lynne, was determined her son would survive.

Two years ago Jonathan, of Burnley Road, decided he wanted to design and make a bag and Lynne was so pleased with it she put it on Facebook and suddenly he was getting orders.

Jonathan’s Facebook page AWEtistic Desines is now his ‘shop window’ and he has a raft of testimonials from satisfied customers.

He said: “I like putting the different pieces together and when I finish making a bag I am really proud. It makes me feel good.”

Each bag is individual and carefully constructed over four hours. His largest order was for 40 small bags for a craft retreat in Bedfordshire.

Jonathan has been helped in his business by Enterprising People In Ribble Valley (EPRV) whose remit is to assist people with business ideas.

EPRV mentor Rob Carder has been working with Jonathan to develop and expand his business and soon all of his bags will have a clearly-identifiable AWEtistic Desines logo.

He has also helped identify new routes to market, put Jonathan in touch with craft companies and has suggested showing his bags at craft fairs.

Jonathan’s full-time carer for the last 11 years is John Hamer. He said: “I think the work that Jonathan does is truly inspirational and he is so dedicated. He takes a great pride in every bag that he makes.”

Jonathan attended Gibfield Special School and Primrose Hill, went on to study at Nelson and Colne College and is now on a life-skills course at Burnley College. His bags cost £45.

To learn more about AWEtistic Desines, check out the Facebook page or email johnatlynnes@msn. com.