THEY say home is where the heart is.

Phil Upton can attest to that.

A native of the South-East, he got a taste of North Yorkshire in the 1990s when work brought him to the region.

When, a bit later in life, he got the chance to put down firmer roots, he didn’t hesitate.

“If you look out of the front window there are spring lambs bouncing around and you’ve got the hills in the background,” he said.

“Compared to London and the South-East, it is truly paradise.”

Mr Upton is managing director at Purple Creative Studio, an agency based at Aske Stables, just a short drive outside Richmond, that is known for providing services and support on websites, brand communication, IT and digital solutions.

Founded in 2009, its origins actually go back a little further.

Mr Upton was “made redundant overnight” in the early 2000s, when the Doncaster company he was working for failed.

He was in his mid-40s at the time and says he knew “he had to do something because he was at an age where he felt he was unemployable”.

His is the classic tale of turning a negative into a positive.

Work from existing clients of his former employer provided the kernel for Purple Creative to grow.

It wasn’t all seriousness, however.

In those early days, Mr Upton admits he had some fun with business partner and “best mate” Allan Guy, the firm’s technical director.

“Allan and I are business partners, but we are also still best mates and our working and personal relationships run side by side”, said Mr Upton, a keen motorcyclist.

“It works a treat.

“We mucked around for a bit, we were like Morecambe and Wise.

“After a while, however, we realised that we could keep on mucking about, or we could build this into something that really represented our passion and skill.”

That focus, which includes a long-running commitment to helping raise funds for St Teresa’s Hospice, has delivered great rewards.

He was also helped by, to an extent, being in the right place at the right time.

Mr Upton was introduced to one of Aske Stables’ bosses, who was looking for support to better market the base to build its presence.

Step forward the self-confessed “mad musician”, and, as the site grew, and tenants increasingly came on board, Mr Upton was there to provide them with the IT and website support they needed.

Today, Purple Creative offers customers a raft of services.

Business start-up and brochure website work is complemented by social media planning, email marketing and search engine optimisation.

It also offers IT infrastructure consultation and is part of the Google Partners programme, helping companies switch to the technology firm’s cloud-based services.

Its growth has been steady, but not without some incident.

When space became a premium, the business expanded into larger surroundings, meaning more room for staff and Mr Upton’s beloved drum kit.

Some things are sacred.

A drummer with the Messengers, Purple Creative’s base, on occasion, doubles up as a rehearsal studio.

For Mr Upton, who is about to embark upon a biking trip to Belgium’s Flanders Field, where a relative’s name is etched on one of the many war memorials, that work/music balance is the best of both worlds.

And he’s got no doubt his business will continue its success, highlighting the impact of its close-knit environment.

“The team is great, and we are like a family.”

“I genuinely mean that,” he added.

Five minutes with… Phil Upton

Favourite North-East building and why? Not sure if this is classified as a North-East building, but, for me as a southerner, it is certainly in the North and East. It’s Aske Stables, where our office is based. I still recall the first time I walked into the inner courtyard of the beautiful Victorian stables and how amazing I thought it was. It still is.

What was your first job and how much did you get paid? 1972 trainee electronic design draughtsman in a PCB design company. I received something like £49 per month.

What is the worst job you've had? Working in a dull 1970s drawing office environment where bullying was deemed normal.

What would you cook for me if I came around for dinner? This is a tough one, as my culinary skills are not really worth writing about. In saying that, I can do a fine meal of peppers baked in olive oil, packed inside with tomatoes and draped in anchovies. They are delicious, and the juices can be mopped up with a nugget of bread.

What would your superpower be? It’s not being able to soar like Superman or climb buildings like Spiderman, but simply I would love to have more musical talent than I do. It must be incredible to sit at a piano and be able to play anything or pick up a guitar and rock out let alone being able to deliver the most incredible drum solo – something as a drummer I can only dream of doing.

Name four people, dead or alive, who would be at your perfect dinner party: John Lennon, Peter Sellers, my grandad Jones (on my mother’s side, as I have questions for him) and my wife Diana. She would be the conversational glue between us all.

Most expensive thing you've bought - other than car or house - and how much? If a motorbike counts, then a Triumph Rocket 111 at £12,000. If not, then my wife’s engagement ring. It wasn’t as much as the Rocket 111, but it was still enough.

Who is the best person to follow on Twitter and why? I’m afraid I don’t have one. Despite my day job, social media isn’t top of my job description.

Favourite book? Has to be a fiction detective type thriller and, in particular, any of the books in the Parish & Richards series, by Tim Ellis. They provide interesting detail, a great blend of characters and insane events with a smattering of humour.

When did you last cry? I can go quite easily over soppy TV or films, but it’s usually triggered by either a sad event or equally something joyous where something uncanny and great has happened to someone.

What is your greatest achievement? Helping to produce four great children who have, so far, given me four great grandchildren. A fifth is on the way.

What's the best piece of advice in business you've ever been given? Be yourself, always play a straight hand and don’t rush things.

Favourite animal and why? Nothing really exciting or unusual, but wild birds in the garden. I’m a little intolerant of dogs and don’t like cats. I often find myself just watching the blackbirds in the garden.

Most famous person on your mobile phone? A Lord, but I’m not telling who.

What was the last band you saw live? The Who – awesome.

Describe your perfect night in: Bottle of red wine, oven roasted cashews with my wife, watching one of our favourite TV programmes.

In another life I would be... A successful rock star.

Who would play you in a film of your life? Gregg Wallace, from Masterchef, probably. I often get told I look like him.

What irritates you? Drivers who hog the middle lane on motorways when the inside lane is clear and should be used. Also, people who leave their rubbish for someone else to pick up.

What's your secret talent? I really don’t think I have one – sadly. But then again, I guess you can’t run and grow a business unless you have a whole toolkit of hidden and, therefore, secret talents.