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​The Stroke Association and Anglian Water set out to conquer stroke during Make May Purple

Press Release   •   May 27, 2016 12:33 BST

In a bid to conquer stroke, the Stroke Association has teamed up with Anglian Water in Lincoln to help reduce the biggest controllable risk factor of the condition.

More than 125 staff at Anglian Water based at Enterprise House, Waterside South, were able to get their blood pressure checked, and receive information and advice on steps to keep it under control at an event organised by the Stroke Association.

The event was organised to mark Make May Purple, the charity’s annual stroke awareness month by former Anglian Water employee and stroke survivor John Smejka, and his wife Paula.

John, 59 from Navenby, was a programme manager at Anglian Water, managing a team of around 17 staff, until he had a stroke in 2011. Left with communication difficulties and weakness on his right side, John was no longer able to work. His fiancée of three months, Paula gave up her job to care for him. Paula and John now work closely alongside the Stroke Association, volunteering and helping to raise awareness of the devastating condition.

Paula Smejka said: “High blood pressure is often referred to as the silent killer because it doesn’t have any symptoms and many people have no idea their health may be at risk. Over nine million people in the UK currently have high blood pressure but estimates suggest there could be up to almost seven million people who are undiagnosed and at risk. John and I were thrilled to organise the Know Your Blood Pressure event with Anglian Water and hopefully help to reduce employees’ risk of having a stroke.”

The Stroke Association runs Know your Blood Pressure events throughout the year. To find your nearest blood pressure event, visit

The Stroke Association is calling on everyone to sign up to Make May Purple in 2016. During the month of May, the charity is raising awareness of the impact of stroke, and sharing information and advice on how to help prevent the condition across the country. To find out more about this year’s Make May Purple and how you can get involved, 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.  

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