My time for adventure

Popular photographer Wendy Turner is seizing the chance of a lifetime - in Peru.

James Marston

Popular Evening Star photographer Wendy Turner is seizing the chance of a lifetime - in Peru.

Today, as she prepares to jet off, she talks to JAMES MARSTON about helping others and fulfilling a life-long ambition.

FOR the last 20 years Wendy has put her career and her children first.

The mum-of-two has been a professional photographer since 1986 and has worked with The Evening Star and its sister paper the East Anglian Daily Times for the past three years.

The 46-year-old said: “I have spent much of my time as a freelance photographer covering everything from portraits, weddings, press and public relations.”

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Now it is time to take a break from her work and put herself first.

She said: “With my youngest son heading off to drama school in September and my oldest already at university, it's now my turn for an adventure.

“I have two grown-up boys, 18 and 21, and my husband is extremely supportive so in October this year I will be undertaking a self-funded trip to Cusco, Peru.”

For a month Wendy will use her talents to work with Creative Corners - a non-profit organisation based in the heart of the city that acts as a haven for children and adolescents living in extreme poverty.

She said: “Most of these children attend state schools where there is a desperate lack of creative education.

“The ambition of the project is therefore to nurture and develop the creative skills of these children and to help them take bold steps towards pulling themselves out of poverty.

“As a professional photographer, I will be running a photography project, lasting one month that will provide an opportunity for the children to learn a new skill and to sell some of the work that they will be undertaking.

“My intention is to help them take images that capture who they are and where they live, in order to turn these shots into gifts, such as postcards and calendars.”

The trip is also an ambition realised for Wendy.

The award-winning photographer said: “I have been thinking about it for about a year. I have always wanted to go to Latin America because it seems a fascinating and beautiful continent.

“I looked on the internet and found out about the project.”

Wendy said Archant - the parent company of the Evening Star and East Anglian Daily Times - has been hugely supportive of her plan.

She added: “I am really lucky to be able to do this. I have never done any volunteering before. I lived in Canada when the children were small for a year and I wanted to go and do something where you are not just a tourist. If you are part of a place for a while you get a very different experience.

“I am also looking to gain inspiration for my photography and pass on my skills to people who really need it.”

Wendy has been fundraising for the trip for some months. She has approached multi-national firms and held events to raise the cash needed to help the project.

She said: “Nikon have donated two Coolpix cameras and Hewlett Packard has donated a photosmart printer. I am also looking for a laptop and SD memory cards to take along.”

Bury St Edmunds firm Denny Bros Ltd is also providing exhibition space for Wendy on her return from Peru.

Wendy, of Genesta Drive, Thurston, is going to a Cuban Salsa event this weekend in Norfolk where she will collect donations and she is also organising a jewellery party hosted by Dizzy Jewellery at Thurston New Green Centre on September 15 which will include a silent auction.

She said: “I have been extremely lucky with the support everyone has given me and the project. I am really looking forward to it.”

At the end of the trip Wendy will take part in a trek to one of Peru's most famous Inca sites Machu Picchu, 11,000ft above sea level.

She added: “The time is right for me to have an adventure.”

If you would like to support Wendy or donate to the project e-mail

Wendy will also be writing a blog during her experiences. To find out more visit

Have you been to Peru? Do you have a similar story to tell? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or send an e-mail to

Creative Corners is a not for profit volunteer organisation that specialises in creative projects for creative people.

Our mission is simple: We match people to projects where they are best suited and return profits to communities that need them most - a WIN/WIN scenario.

We aim to stay specialised and focused on creative projects which means finding talented artists, teachers and creative people so that we can create a passionate and creative network of artists pitching their vision and skills to creatively change lives around the world.

Our projects are well planned, affordable and 100 per cent of our profits are reinvested back to the projects for disadvantaged, abused and abandoned children where we send volunteers to supply arts education materials.

We also encourage volunteers to strive for an element of public performance, exhibition, installation, recording or publication of the work produced during the project.

Trips are available for volunteers from anywhere in the world for individuals, couples, groups, corporate and even family teams.

We have projects looking for willing creative workers from as little as one week to 12 weeks and beyond depending on the project chosen and how long you've got.

Wendy is holding a silent auction to raise funds for a children's photography project in Cusco Peru. Here are the items you can bid for.

1 A family portrait session with Red Shed Photography together with a CD of all the images for you to keep - �500

2 A three hour digital photography workshop with Red Shed Photography to help you improve the images you take - �75

3 A two course meal for two and a bottle of house wine at Brasserie Gerard - �50

4 A three-course meal for two and a bottle of wine at the Suffolk pub of the year Thurston Fox and Hounds - �60

5 Two cases of IPA beer and an Abbot Ale sports bag from Greene King - �50

6 A fully decorated Christmas cake from Amazing Cakes by Jean Barker - �40

7 A round of golf for two at Thorpeness Golf club - �70

8 A football signed by the Ipswich Town first team squad

9 A signed copy of former Ipswich Town star Fabian Wilnis' autobiography - �16.99

10 An Alpaca wrap from Melford Green

11 An Alpaca adoption pack from Melford Green

12 Two free tickets to see any show in the autumn 2009 panto and 2010 spring season at the New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich

13 Full use of the pool, spa bath, sauna and steam rooms at Clarice House (Bury St Edmunds) for two - �50

14 Family ticket to visit the Oasis camel centre, Halesworth

Final bids by Sunday, September 20 at 5pm.

Please send postal bids to Wendy Turner, 66, Genesta Drive, Thurston, Suffolk, IP31 3PZ, or e-mail to stating the item number and your bid.