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​Local stroke choir adds voices to Lost for Words campaign

Press Release   •   Dec 20, 2016 13:17 GMT

A group of 15 stroke survivors and carers from the East Lancashire and Blackburn with Darwen Stroke Association Choir are adding their voices to the Stroke Association’s latest campaign: Lost for Words.

The charity’s Lost for Words campaign aims to raise awareness of the challenges stroke survivors with communication difficulties can face, and the help and support available.

The choir was created through the Stroke Association’s Communication Support services across East Lancashire, and Blackburn with Darwen, which support local stroke survivors with communication difficulties.

The singers brought plenty of festive cheer to shoppers in store in Asda Colne on Monday 19 December, when they sang a variety of Christmas carols and songs. This was followed with a performance to residents at Favordale House in Colne later the same day.

Stroke survivor Steve Hewitt, 68 from Feniscowles, and his wife Jean are both members of the choir. Steve had a stroke in 2010 which left him with aphasia, and he now supports the choir with percussion at rehearsals, and helps to collect donations at performances.

Jean said: “Steve and I joined the choir in November 2015 when it started, and it’s gone from there. I really enjoy singing but also love the social aspect of the choir, and chatting to people each week. It’s so helpful for Steve to meet people in a similar situation and who understand what he’s going through.”

Clare Carroll, Assistant Regional Manager for the Stroke Association, said: “After a stroke, around one in three people like Steve have difficulty communicating, which can be both terrifying and isolating. Steve is a huge inspiration and it’s been fantastic to see his confidence grow.

“Singing is an important part of a stroke survivor’s recovery; it is often easier for people to communicate through song than speech because a different part of the brain is used. As well as singing, we want to build the confidence of our members too.

“We couldn’t run the choir without the support of our amazing choirmaster Peter Young, and we’re very grateful for all his support. We’re really proud of all the members in the choir and look forward to working on new songs in the New Year.”

More than 350,000 people in the UK have aphasia, a communication disability which can be caused by stroke. The Stroke Association is urging people to show their support for stroke survivors who are lost for words and make a donation. For more information, visit www.stroke.org.uk/lostforwords

The East Lancashire and Blackburn with Darwen Stroke Association Choir meets on the first and third Monday of each month, at the New Methodist Church, Darwen and Asda Community Room, Colne. For more information, contact Vicky Cheshire on 07540 515 069 or Andrea Walsh on 07717 275 768.

The Stroke Association provides Information, Advice and Support Services and Communication Supports in East Lancs and Blackburn with Darwen, in partnership with East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group and Blackburn with Darwen Clinical Commissioning Group respectively

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 one of the largest causes of 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