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​Local stroke choir Makes May Purple in Lancashire

Press Release   •   Jun 01, 2017 10:34 BST

Stroke survivors and carers from the Stroke Association’s Pennine Lancs Stroke Choir have been celebrating Make May Purple for stroke, with a series of musical events across Lancashire.

The Stroke Association has been calling on everyone to sign up to Make May Purple in 2017. During the month of May, the charity has been encouraging everyone to go purple and raise vital funds, to show support for people who have been affected by stroke.

The Pennine Lancs Stroke 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.

Local singers brought cheer to Rakehead Rehabilitation Centre in Burnley on Monday 15 May, Pendle Community Hospital on Friday 19 May and Queens Lodge Nursing Home on Monday 22 May, with rousing musical performances.

Stroke survivor Pat McMillan and her husband Chris, from Blackburn, are both members of the choir. Pat, 58, had a stroke two years ago while on a cruise in Venice. After five weeks in hospital, Pat was left with no movement in her right side and aphasia, a communication disability which can be caused by stroke.

Chris said: “Pat has always enjoyed singing and sings along to the radio in the car and at home. Even though her speech has been affected, she really enjoys performing with the choir and getting involved.”

May Parkington, 88 from Accrington, had a stroke in 2008 which left her with severe aphasia.

Her daughter in law Christine Parkington said: “Before her stroke, May sung in the Hyndburn Singers and the Red Rose Singers. She’s always been a singer. Losing her speech and her ability to sing was devastating for May and our family because she was such a sociable person and loved being a part of the choirs.

“May was delighted when the Stroke Association set up their choir and I know she really enjoys being a part of it. Despite her severe aphasia, I know she has a beautiful singing voice and manages to sing many of the lyrics.”

Becky Begum, Assistant Regional Manager at the Stroke Association, said: “After a stroke, around one in three people have difficulty communicating, which can be both terrifying and isolating. 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.

“Across the UK, more than a million people are rebuilding their lives after stroke. By holding the performances during Make May Purple we wanted to help make sure stroke gets the attention it deserves.”

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. For more information, contact Vicky Cheshire on 07540 515 069 or Andrea Walsh on 07717 275 768.

During the month of May, the charity has been calling on everyone in to go purple and raise vital funds, to show their support for people who have been affected by stroke. To get involved with Make May Purple and help to change the story for stroke survivors, visit

  • 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 more than 100,000 strokes in the UK each year; that is around one stroke every five minutes. 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