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​London stroke survivor scoops creative arts award

Press release   •   Nov 18, 2016 10:36 GMT

London stroke survivor and sculptor John Somerville has been presented with a Creative Arts Award at the Stroke Association’s Life After Stroke Awards.

John, 65, the creator of a life-sized statue of Mike Milligan in a Grade II listed building in High Barnet, received the award from Andrew Marr and Makcus Birdman in recognition of his commitment to rebuilding his life after stroke.

The charity’s star-studded ceremony, sponsored by the TONI&GUY Charitable Foundation, NEXT plc and Irwin Mitchell,was held at the London’s Dorchester Hotel on 16 November.

Four years ago, John had a severe stroke which left him with weakness in his right arm and leg, partial sight loss in his eye and several ‘hidden’ disabilities including fatigue. As a sculptor needing the use of both arms and legs, this was a huge blow.

John, who is currently offering unpaid tuition to budding sculptors, said, “I just want to tell other stroke survivors to keep going. There is always something you can do and, if you come up against a problem, there is always a way around it. If you have a problem, get creating. Time just vanishes when I am sculpting. It takes over my being.

“It is a bit surreal winning this award. I am not sure what I have done to deserve it. I have just carried on doing what I have always done.”

Kate Pieroudis, who nominated John, said, “John’s enthusiasm for art is incredibly infectious and his defiant approach to life, in the face of numerous setbacks is very heart-warming. He has demonstrated exceptional commitment to overcoming a variety of barriers and gone on to create inspiring works of art.

“John dedicates time to raising awareness of stroke, and has been devoted to supporting other stroke survivors. His sheer determination and resourcefulness meant he could continue to achieve despite setbacks, refusing to let them beat him and remaining positive with a great sense of humour.”

To find out more about the Life after Stroke Awards please 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 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.
  • The 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
  • Christmas is the loneliest time to be lost for words. After a stroke, around one in three survivors have difficulty speaking and understanding, which can be terrifying and isolating. But with the Stroke Association’s support, people can find new ways to communicate. Find out how you can help at or search for #lostforwords
  • The 2016 Life After Stroke Awards are sponsored by TONI &GUY Charitable Foundation. More information can be found at:
  • Irwin Mitchell is over 100 years old and is one of the largest law firms in the UK. There are offices in Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge, Leeds, London, Manchester, Middlesbrough (Consulting Office), Newcastle, Sheffield and Southampton. Irwin Mitchell has also completed the acquisitions of Specialist Personal Injury firm MPH Solicitors and private wealth firm Berkeley Law in the past two years. For more information visit
  • Onecom is the UK’s leading business to business mobile phone provider and manages more than 335,000 connections throughout the UK. Onecom specialises in tailored fixed line and mobile solutions for businesses ranging from SMEs to large corporates. Onecom is headquartered in Whiteley, Hampshire, and also has offices in London, Cambridge, Shoeburyness, Cardiff, Southampton, Plymouth, Leeds, Telford, Norwich and Brighton. Find out more at