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Right so just to start with, if you wouldn’t mind telling us a bit about why you came to

Headway and sort of what, and if you can, what your health issue is.
I come to Headway cause... I thought I might just be able to get to walk again and
the other groups are.....handy… it’s ..... it’s interesting learning about what we are
doing in the Heritage Project.
The Heritage Project yeah?
That’s good, interesting and of course the animated group is, don’t forget, look on
Youtube
The Heritage Project?
No the animation group.
The animation group ok.
We have got a project coming up, we’re filming it,we call it I am not going to say what
it’s about but it’s very good.
Ok I’ll look it up then that sounds really good.
It is, believe me!...I forgotten where I am.
So what was it you said you come to Headway because you want to be able to walk
again and you also sort of enjoy the classes you do here.
Yeh
Cause I heard you didn’t want to miss your Animation Project.
No I didn’t.

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No But thank you so much.
I mean they’ve provided it so I’m not needed.
So the other part of the question was if you could just tell us a bit about your health
issue?
I had a stroke in December 2012, Christmas Eve.
Christmas Eve!
Wonderful time.
Yeh
And my left, no my right side is paralysed and that’s why I’m in a wheelchair but I’m
going to prove them all wrong and I am going to walk.
Walk again so you sound like you’ve got a lot of get up and go!
(laughs) Get up and go!
Em so yeh so that’s just it on the side of Headway and sort of health issues, so I will
just go to more sort of start of questions about sort of when and where you were
born?
I was born in Ayr inScotland.
Oh..
I was…My father was born there and he took me home and I happened to be born
there but you, we ... hang on... we moved down, em, we moved down to here,
Cambridge, when I was very little.

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So you don’t really remember much of Scotland?
I probabaly…I do but I haven’t got the Scottish accent. Which I had.
No, oh you had one? When did it sort of fade, when you came to Cambridge?
I suppose so yeh, but my Dad, its annoying, he still has a Scottish accent.
Yeah it sort of changes in young people. So what bought your family down to
Cambridge then was it work related?
Yeah.
So do you remember how old you were when you came down? Or just quite young.
Very young.
So have you lived in Cambridge since then?
Yeh.
Cool, so sort of on the family side did you have any brothers and sisters?
I have three brothers, pains in the arse!
Oh wow!
Em, all older.
Oh wow so you were sort of, the youngest, the baby.
Yeah.
Can you tell me a bit about your three brothers?

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Eh, em they all moved away fairly, they were quite young and I was there to look
after, my Dad...
Look after him?
Yeh, he would be going... my mum died quite a while ago and he brought me up and
he became ill em... quite a while after, which left me to look after him.
So you sort of helped out with your Dad then? So what was wrong with your Dad?
Em, he had cancer.
Oh ok. Is it hard to talk about?
Sometimes yeh.
No it’s ok if you want to talk about it you can but if not we can.... leave it.
Leave it please.
No that’s absolutely fine. So did you go to school in Cambridge?
Yeh.
Where did you go?
Netherhall.
Netherhall, oh that’s not far. Did you enjoy it or..?
Sort of.
Sort of? Up and down? Did you, how was school?
Mmm I preferred college.

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Oh so you went to college afterwards.
Yeh.
Was it, did you do A levels.
Yeh
Do you remember what ones you did?
Maths, English and Science.
Science, oh wow so you sort of finished college off and then, where did you go after
then?
Anglia Ruskin.
Oh wow.
I got a degree there.
What in?
Science.
Really so then so sort of you did all of your schooling in Cambridge and then did you
stay in Cambridge after that, after you finished your degree.
Before I got a degree I moved to Newmarket.
Newmarket, oh ok.
I used to work, for Bruce Hobbs.
Bruce Hobbs, is that a, what is that?

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He was a top trainer.
Oh really, wow. So did you move there, did you have a year out before you went to
University and live in Newmarket.
I think it was more than a year out.
So you had a little bit of time before you went. So in those middle years you worked.
So has that always been a hobby you’ve done or did you pick it up when you
worked?
I did ride before yeah.
Did you continue riding after at all?
No I stopped it because I became pregnant.
Oh really!
Yeah I’m getting my....
No that’s fine. So if we go back so you worked in Newmarket for a bit and then you
went and got your degree in Anglia Ruskin and by this point did you have a child? Or
was thisAfter
Or was this after? No that’s fine. So you went and did your degree in science. Do
you remember when you graduated.
I don’t.
No that’s fine.

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I’m sorry I don’t.
So when did you have your first child?
The oldest is 18, I think yeah. I can’t really remember numbers.
No I’m 18 so it would have been around 97, 96 yeah? So can you tell me a bit about
your children?
They are four terrors!
Four terrors!
Adam and Connor - boys and Fran or Frances and Saffron – Saffy - girls.
Oh so you’ve got two of each then.
Perfect planning!
And now they are nightmares?
Yes and no, they’re alright.
So the oldest is 18 you said, so they are quite young then.
Yeah.
How old is the youngest?
12.
Oh so they’re quite close in age then.
Yeah.
So do you have a husband?
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Yeah.
Yeah, so living at home with your children...did…after you had your stroke, how
would that have affected on your children?
Quite a big thing cause they saw me have it in front of them.
Ok, carry on.
There’s one I’ve written about getting on the bus you’d be surprised about the
amount of people who sit on my arm.
Oh really?
There’s only one place I can go and the amount of people particularly on a morning
when it’s busy will sit there, not any more they get the elbow! Cause it’s my personal
space, go away, how would they like it if somebody got up close and personal to
them, it’s not on.
So you write about these experiences in the blog?
Yes.
Do you have any other experiences to talk about?
Oh lots. I’ve written about the concert I went to, about the Strawberry Fayre, erm,
about the Open Day here, I can’t remember what else, oh the Animation Group.
Which is good.
The Animation Group, can you tell these stories? If you can...
Yeah erm we making a…stop go animation…in animation with a story, a very good
story and we’ve written the script and we do the voices and can’t say what it’s about
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but it’s a very good, in fact we are sending a copy of it when it’s finished, to the
Prime Minister.
Good, good on you. So em about the blog again, so you said you write stories of
your experiences and things like that so you said one experience was the Strawberry
Fayre and sort of people, is it people getting in your personal space?
Yes.
So could you tell that story?
Well it’s just mainly on the bus, people sit there and they think... the Strawberry
Fayre was very good, I enjoyed it a lot, it was a bit bumpy but I enjoyed it cause
people treated me as normal, whatever that means. I am normal, it may be my legs
that have gone but this hasn’t… but believe me this hasn’t. I think the only thing that I
said was wrong was the…not enough disabled toilets.
Not enough of them? So, on this blog that you write for Headway you are sort of
focussing on people’s attitudes towards disabilities and how that needs to change
really.
Yeah it does.
So that’s really interesting so you sound like you are a very active member of
Headway.
Yeah, you should see people on the bus because they all look at me and you see
them, she shouldn’t be on here, she shouldn’t be in that, I know but I have to, I live
with it, why can’t they?
How do you feel your life has changed since you had the stroke?
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A great deal because I used to work in a primary school, which has flights of stairs, I
couldn’t do that now. And the playground used to be a big.... big em... mountain or
something, something, what do you call it, in the playground, the kids used to, I used
to hold their hands and run up it and run down the other side that was lovely... a hill,
that’s it.
How long did you work in the primary school?
10 years.
So you’ve been sort of based in Arbury for the last sort of how long?
16-14 years.
So before working in the primary school where did you work?
I didn’t, I was too busy having babies.
Bringing them up?
Yeah all of them.
Were you there when they were there, how was that?
I thought it was good but they, the others, the headmaster didn’t like it.
Really?
I shouldn’t say because it’s being recorded but I am going to say it - he was a
bastard, he was! He was the sort to phone me up when I was lying in hospital not
knowing whether I would live or die, “Are you coming back to work? Are you coming
back to work?”
And he had no sort of regard for…?
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No he hadn’t.
So after your stroke, obviously you said it’s changed your life a lot.
Yeah.
But in terms of sort of aside from what you did before sort of in the way it’s changed
how, what’s been sort of new in your life?
This horrible contraption, I can’t do what I used to which sometimes upsets me, I
can’t go and play football with the boys or the kids, can’t walk my children to school
and now they are too old but that’s besides the point, I can’t walk with them to
school, I can’t do my job, em, we have a lot of animals at home, I can’t go round and
feed them, I find it too hard.
But you’ve got you’ve also got opportunities at Headway and things like that.
I’m not complaining.
No no, no
I’m moving in other directions but I miss my old life. I miss horses. [sighs] yeh.
What animals have you got at home?
Animals, cat, guinea pigs, gerbils, rats, tame rats that is.... rabbits em... I think that’s
it. And I want a dog, I am desperate for a dog. I had a dog and she died a week
before I had this. It’s as if she knew. She was a nutcase she really was. But I need....
I need another dog. Security, I’m in a wheelchair I feel vulnerable but I .... I want to
be left alone at home I want my family to go out and enjoy themselves and I’m a big
girl I can be left alone but it would be nice to have a dog, very nice.

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How have your family supported you since the stroke?
They have been there for me. They suffered a lot the first, when it happened. They
all saw it and I will never forget my daughters face standing outside as I was carted
away in the ambulance, the look of horror on her face she didn’t know what was
happening. I only say my daughter cause I couldn’t see all the others. I saw her.
They... they have been there for me when I... sometimes I would, if you like ?? when
I got home things weren’t exactly how I wanted them I didn’t like that. And couldn’t
do them. My husband, I love him so much, he has taken over the washing cause I
can’t get to the machine and I would pick .. ?? I would help Ron, I don’t do that now I
help him. But they are wonderful for what they put up with, with me, complaining. I
think it was the way I was treated by the ..... no..... I am going to name people and I
shouldn’t.
What do you think the future holds, what are you looking forward to?
Getting rid of this. Em making Headway more accessible is that the right word?
Yeh.
Cause not enough people know about it and ? and I want to publicise it cause they
help me a great deal. They have helped me... I’ll start again, it’s helped me gain my
confidence back and what else? And helped me get better again.
When did you start coming to Headway?
I think about about a year and half, I think.
And since then, it’s made a massive difference yeh.

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Yes it has, of course half way through this year I had to go and break my hip. And it
hurts believe me it bloody hurts! So, oh I’m so tired ??? I just thought learning to
walk again, I wonder what’s next, I think I’ve broken everything well it feels like it.
You still seem very optimistic and positive though.
Yeh I think what’s the point in, I’m not going to sit here and wait to die it’s not on. I
have got things to do places to go, and if it means ?? then so be it. I walked outside
yesterday.
So you will prove them wrong.
Yes I will, I will prove them wrong believe me.
So you mentioned earlier, you were sort of angry about treatment.
Yeh
If we could touch on that if you are happy to if it doesn’t... it’s just part... I mean you
said you are quite upset with some of it. You don’t have to name anyone or... say
anything but I mean what that sort of after. Immediately after the stroke.
After yeh, the hospital were, the hospital care was very good. [someone sneezes]
Bless you. The em the physios, even the Ops the doctors in hospital were wonderful.
But when I came out... it was ..... I can’t think of a polite word for it. It was hell.
Because the people that were supposed to come and see me, didn’t. I was sitting at
home for 3 weeks without any therapy at all. Which didn’t help.
So in a way you were sort of left.
Yes.

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Which is unacceptable.
Yes considering I had therapy physio, speech therapy every day in hospital I liked,
they ... I liked it, every day in hospital having physio and speech therapy and the
OTs, the OTs yes that’s another story but I was making progress and then I come
out and was left for 3 weeks before ........[sighing] before the Stroke Association saw
me and I had one visit from a speech therapist and she thought I was good enough
and she never came anymore. I needed more. The physio walked for me which is
wrong. I am the one who wants to walk not her.
So then coming to Headway obviously made a massive difference in the way you
were treated and how you felt about that.
I was treated as an individual in my own right and they all of them, they are all nutty
as we are. But they are all, normal is not... they are all the same as us they have all
got the same humour and they will talk to each and every one of us. Not oh you want
this... they ask what we want, what I want and they listen.
Then they are putting you first always which is really important obviously. So this sort
of seems like your treatment from coming out of hospital is that sort of reflected in
your what sounds like your blogging, so when you are saying, trying to raise
awareness on how you know we are all equal no matter what really which is really
important obviously and it’s brilliant.
We have covered quite a bit is there anything you’d like to talk about that we
haven’t spoken about?
I don’t think so.
What have you got planned for the rest of the day?
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I don’t know. I would have done Jeff but he’s not here so ?? singing
Singing?
Singing or Scrabble.
Scrabble.
I wouldn’t mind singing if it was decent music, not that it’s bad but it’s not my type of
music, I prefer rock music.
Rock music? What’s your favourite band?
WTC: [sighs]
Or one of?
I like The Darkness.
The Darkness! Wow I’ve never heard of them
Really?
No, have you?
Yeh.
Really, I never have.
Yeh good band.
I feel really out of touch!
And I am seeing them in December.
Wow.
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Corn Exchange.
Do you go out to music quite a bit?
Yeh. It makes it, sorry, it makes a difference. The first concert I went to was about 6
months, 6 months after I had been released from prison, it felt like prison! No they
were wonderful in hospital, little angels. Now they were a band we followed before I
had my children. And for them to perform in a concert just for me, well it seemed like
it so I went to see them and they said what the hell are you doing in that? And I told
them but it was great. Now they have broken up. But I try to go out quite often, The
Portland Arms.
Yep.
And I can get in with my wheelchair it’s wheelchair.
The gig room’s accessible.
Yes.
The Portland Arms do really good gigs don’t they?
I was there last night actually!
Who did you see?
I didn’t actually go for a band but they did have a band on I spent a couple of
drinks with a friend of mine but yeh. How do you find... have you been to the
Corn Exchange before since you’ve been using the chair.
Yeh.
How is that in terms of accessibility?
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Ok. But I don’t like it... the first time was for em.... what’s there name? ?? I saw them
and I hadn’t booked upstairs I was downstairs and I could see fuck all it was ohh and
the band I particularly wanted to see Father Son were on first, so when they played I
got put up in the balcony so I could see it. It’s ok I suppose but the ? is better
because you can reach down and touch.
And people kind of stand up and get in the way basically don’t they.
Yeh.
Yeh.
But I went to Young Guns in em July August that was good but very, there was a lot
of people in The Portland it was a bit scary but Young Guns, who cares.
They are jacket.
Is that the logo, I was looking at that’s really cool. A peace logo isn’t it?
On,
And whats that a peace logo on the front. I really like that design. Yeh so oh that’s so
smart.
I was lucky being given this my husband decided I had earned it because that’s the, I
think this was about £40 or something.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
I don’t think so.

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