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Art after stroke: exhibition showcases the work of local stroke survivors

Press Release   •   May 10, 2016 09:36 BST

Inspirational art work created by stroke survivors from South Cumbria will be displayed and on sale at St Michael's Church, Rampside on Saturday 21 May at 2pm to celebrate Make May Purple.

The Stroke Association is calling on everyone to sign up to Make May Purple in 2016. During the month of May, the charity is raising awareness of the impact of stroke, and sharing information and advice on how to help prevent the condition across the country.

The art work was produced by stroke survivors from South Cumbria who attended an art therapy workshop in Barrow, organised by local artist and stroke survivor, Maggie Turbitt and the Stroke Association. Local residents can not only view the artwork but also purchase a selection of the pieces, with funds going towards future workshops.

Maggie, from Great Urswick, had a stroke at the age of 45 in 2007. She spent a number of months in hospital unable to walk, speak or swallow and unable to move her right arm and leg. She used painting as way of helping her through her recovery and has now established herself as a successful artist.

Maggie donates the money raised through any sales of her work to the Stroke Association, which organises the ‘Joy of Painting’ art therapy workshops using the funding. They’re held by Jayne Good, the same instructor who first taught Maggie.

Maggie said: “Before my stroke, I had never painted before and had to learn to use a paintbrush with my left hand. Art therapy gave me a new lease of life and it is now much more than a hobby, it is essential therapy for me. I’m delighted that my fundraising can contribute in giving other stroke survivors such a wonderful experience and that their work will be displayed at St Michael’s Church during Make May Purple.

“The Stroke Association does an incredible amount of work to support stroke survivors and their families in Cumbria, and selling my paintings has enabled me to support in my own way.”

The Stroke Association runs a Communication Support Service in South Cumbria in partnership with Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group. The service helps stroke survivors who experience problems with speaking, reading, writing or understanding.

Sam Lord, Communication Support Coordinator at the Stroke Association, said: “Art therapy can help stroke survivors build their confidence and express themselves in new ways. We see the overwhelming courage and determination many stroke survivors, such as Maggie, show in coping with the loss of different skills that we take for granted. We’d love to see everyone from across the local area to come along to the exhibition and even buy an original piece of artwork of their own.”

To find out more about this year’s Make May Purple and how you can get involved, please visit www.stroke.org.uk/makemaypurple

A stroke is a brain attack which happens when the blood supply to the brain is cut off, caused by a clot or bleeding in the brain. There are around 152,000 strokes in the UK every year and it is the leading cause of severe adult disability. There are over 1.2 million people in the UK living with the effects of stroke.  

Stroke Association is a charity. We believe in life after stroke and together we can conquer stroke. We work directly with stroke survivors and their families and carers, with health and social care professionals and with scientists and researchers. We campaign to improve stroke care and support people to make the best recovery they can. We fund research to develop new treatments and ways of preventing stroke. The Stroke Helpline (0303 303 3100) provides information and support on stroke. More information can be found at www.stroke.org.uk