Pub-based stroke club has national ambitions

Oxford Mail: Abingdon Stroke Club co-founders, front from left, Gary Gill and Brendan Kehoe with secretary Adrian Ballard at the club’s meeting in the College Oak, Peachcroft, where they launched their new website Abingdon Stroke Club co-founders, front from left, Gary Gill and Brendan Kehoe with secretary Adrian Ballard at the club’s meeting in the College Oak, Peachcroft, where they launched their new website

A SUPPORT group founded by pub-going stroke survivors has become a registered charity.

Gary Gill teamed up with others to set up Stroke Club just under two years ago.

It started with two people meeting at The College Oak, Abingdon, and they have met there every fortnight without fail ever since – watching the club grow.

The group isn’t about medication and diagnosis, it’s just a place where stroke survivors can meet up with friends who understand how it feels.

Mr Gill, 48, says he wants to now make the club a national group, and already a new branch is being started in Didcot.

He said: “When I had my stroke I was left on my own.

“I met this bloke, Brendan, and he felt the same so we started this club, and it has just grown and grown.

“You can be the best physician in the world but if you’ve never had a stroke you’ll never understand it.

“I have a bit of a limp now and get pain, but the mental side is what is really horrible.

“When I am chatting to people I will forget what we’re talking about mid-sentence and have to apologise and ask them what we were talking about.

“I still go for therapy.”

Being a registered charity means Stroke Club won’t have to pay income or corporation tax and donations to the club may be eligible for Gift Aid. The official status can also make it easier to raise funds.

Mr Gill woke up on his sofa one morning in April 2012 and couldn’t feel his left arm.

When the feeling didn’t return after a few minutes he tried to speak, couldn’t, and realised he was having a stroke.

He was just 46.

It took him half an hour to crawl to his phone to call an ambulance, but the real struggle came in the weeks and months which followed as he tried to recover living on his own.

That all changed when he and another stroke survivor Brendan Kehoe founded Stroke Club in November that year.

On Tuesday, their club became an official registered charity and launched its new website – strokeclubuk.org The idea of Stroke Club was that it would be a place where no-one needed to feel embarrassed if they forgot what they were talking about.

Mr Gill said: “The thing I love about Stroke Club is the smiles on people’s faces.

“You have to be positive.

“People are so down when they arrive, but after one day with us they always have a smile on their face.”

The club now has 27 members, one of whom, Will Stammers, is starting the branch in Didcot. Mr Stammers, 39, suffered a stroke two-and-a-half years ago, and is now out of work.

He said: “It’s really just given me a focus in life. I enjoy it so much because it’s a place where everyone is in the same boat, everyone is a survivor or a carer.”

Mr Gill added: “People are coming on board, everyone wants to help us getting grants, everyone who comes does something.”

  • Our top stories:

2014 Oxfordshire GCSE results school by school

Oxford Mail: It's A-Level day

12:30pm Tuesday 19th August 2014

Full GCSE results for Oxfordshire schools for 2014

LONDON WELSH: Olly Barkley backs Exiles to surprise this season

Oxford Mail:

9:30am Thursday 21st August 2014

LONDON Welsh are not just in the Aviva Premiership this season to make up the numbers.

Purr-fect ending to tale of cat missing for a decade

Oxford Mail:

9:00am Thursday 21st August 2014

GEORGIA Hand was just a few months old when the family cat Morgan went missing 10 years ago.

Coroner rules out unlawful killing verdict in gem shop raider's death

Oxford Mail:

9:00am Thursday 21st August 2014

THE grieving family of Clint Townsend yesterday said his robbery of a city jeweller’s was “completely out of character” as a coroner ruled he had not been unlawfully killed.

Thieves snatch £1,600 from pay-and-display machines

Oxford Mail: Pay and Display proposals could net council £160,000 a year

8:30am Thursday 21st August 2014

MORE than £1,600 has been stolen from pay- and-display parking machines across Oxford in the past five years.

Alleged helper ‘wanted phone smashed’

Oxford Mail:

8:30am Thursday 21st August 2014

A MAN on trial for helping killer William Blencowe told his girlfriend to take a hammer to his phone after he was arrested, a jury has been told.

Comments

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree