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​Septuagenarian stroke survivor wins national carer award

Press Release   •   Nov 18, 2016 11:03 GMT

A 70-year-old carer has been presented with a National Carer Award sponsored by Boehringer Ingleheim, at the Stroke Association’s Life After Stroke Awards.

Paul Massey from Griton, in the East of England, received the award from Alistair Stewart and Laura Tobin for recognition of his selfless work as a carer to his ex-wife, who had a stroke two years ago.

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.

Paul and Mary had been living apart for 20 years, and had been divorced with no contact for four years. It was during a conversation with a mutual friend in 2014 that Paul discovered Mary had had a severe stroke and was admitted in a hospital in Chichester. Mary’s stroke left her with devastating disability she was unable to walk or look after herself, and could speak only a few 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 like Mary can find new ways to communicate.

Paul said: “I immediately phoned the hospital and requested a nurse ask Mary if she wanted me to visit. When the nurse told me she thought Mary did want to see me, I drove down from Cambridge immediately.

“On my arrival, I realised that they did not think Mary will last the night. In the hope that she might rally if I stuck around, I decided to stay the night. Mary did indeed survive the night and began her long recovery.”

Paul spent the next seven months in Midhurst until Mary was discharged. When Mary left hospital, she needed someone who could help her with basic day-to-day tasks, like shopping and making a cup of tea. It was then that Paul decided to take her in until she could live alone. Mary agreed and has lived with Paul in Girton since July last year.

Paul said, “Mary is recovering nicely, her speech has improved dramatically and she can walk with a stick unaided. I believe she will continue to get better, and with effort, could even nearly get back close to feeling where she was before her stroke.

“Mary is delighted to have relocated to Cambridge. The support here for stroke survivors is much appreciated by Mary and me. Despite her bad luck, I think Mary is happier at present that she has been for some years past.”

Alison Murray, Information, Advice and Support Coordinator at The Stroke Association, who nominated Paul said, “Paul’s story is incredible. He selflessly put aside a very productive and happy life to care for his ex-wife. He could have decided to leave her care to others, but he did not. He took the difficult decision to help her.

“There are not many people who would put their life on hold to care for an ex-partner. Paul very much deserves this recognition, and with his unflinching care and support, Mary has proved there definitely is life after stroke.”

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 like Mary, 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
  • Boehringer Ingelheim group is one of the world’s 20 leading pharmaceutical companies. Headquartered in Ingelheim, Germany, Boehringer Ingelheim operates globally with 146 affiliates and a total of more than 47,700 employees. The focus of the family-owned company, founded in 1885, is researching, developing, manufacturing and marketing new medications of high therapeutic value for human and veterinary medicine.
  • Find out more at