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Local ten year old who saved Mum during a stroke receives regional recognition

Press release   •   Feb 19, 2019 10:22 GMT

Ten year old Ella Wharf from Wisbech, has received a Highly Commended Life After Stroke Award from the Stroke Association, for calling for help after her Mum had a stroke while driving.

The certificate for courage was presented to Ella Wharf, who was just six at the time of the stroke, and her Mum Joann by musician Dave Hill, at a special ceremony on Monday 18 February at the Nottingham City Council House.

Joanne Wharf, 34, who was also six months pregnant at the time, had a stroke while she was driving Ella home from school in early 2015. Joanne managed to pull the car over even though she couldn’t speak or use her right side. That’s when Ella sprang into action, climbing into the front seat and calmly phoning her Grandmother to ring for an ambulance.

Joanne said: “Ella was so brave and grown up when she realised I was in trouble. She very calmly rang her Nanny, explained what was happening to me as I couldn’t speak and told her to ring for an ambulance quickly”

Remarkably, Ella was also able to direct paramedics to their location, explain what had happened to her Mum and even provide next of kin details.

Joanne added: “Ella was able to give the ambulance crew directions to where we were from her school and she even gave them the make and model of our car”

“When paramedics arrived, Ella told them my name, age, our full address and even how far pregnant I was. I am so proud and grateful to Ella for managing to keep calm and act so responsibly when she must have been so scared. I owe my life to her and she definitely deserves this award and recognition.”

Since the stroke, which has left Joanne with memory loss and trouble with certain words and phrases, Mother and Daughter have been hugely active in fundraising for the Stroke Association. They have organised family fun days and bingo nights and have more events planned too.

Jacqui Cuthbert, Director for the Stroke Association in Central England, added: “A stroke happens in an instant and often changes lives forever. We were thrilled that so many local people were nominated to receive a Life After Stroke Award. Our regional event highlights the tremendous courage young people like Ella and her Mum have shown in rebuilding their lives after a stroke, or in helping others to do the same.”

The Stroke Association’s Life After Stroke Awards recognise the courage shown by stroke survivors and carers as well as the great work and commitment shown by health professionals, groups and supporter organisations. For more information visit


Image features Joanne Wharf, Ella Wharf and musician Dave Hill

For more information please contact Ken Scott on 0115 7788429 or email

  • 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