Step Out for Stroke


A guest blog post today from Caren Borchardt, Stroke Association Family and Carer Support Coordinator – Lincolnshire. I went along to this amazing Step Out for Stroke event on Sunday with Caren – here’s what she had to say about it:

Step out for stroke, Harstholme Lake, Lincoln, got Action on stroke month’s “Step out for stroke” off to a fabulous start for the region! The day was bright and beautiful and all gathered from around Lincolnshire to help raise awareness ‘walking the walk’. Hartsholme Lake offered us a magnificently picturesque walk, which was 1.6 kilometres around the lake. We were blessed with walkers, stroke survivors, carers and friends and family. We had Paula and Maria stepping out three legged because to quote Paula “walking after a stroke is a battle,…just one of many” Currently their ‘Just giving’ page has raised £450 ….. Many others did the walk; Jayne has battled two strokes, and was determined to complete the walk with her beloved dog Annie. Then there were the ladies who came from Spalding, who also raised over £200! We were joined by some staff from Lincoln stroke unit, and also the Assisted Discharge Stroke service. Our Lincolnshire Family & Carer support service has also supported a few others that wanted to walk on the day. There were 18 people that registered for the event before the big day, and several more on the day. Everyone worked together to make the day hugely enjoyable, we raised awareness, and brightened up the day by adding a slash of purple….and lots of laughter! We were joined by Prince Tedward Smith our Stroke ambassador, and even got a couple of mentions on the radio! A great big thank you to all, keep taking those steps to improve awareness of stroke.




Why you should Know Your Blood Pressure


High blood pressure (also called hypertension) is a contributing factor to over half of all strokes in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The British Heart Foundation estimates that 15.6 million people in the UK have high blood pressure.

This may sound scary, but high blood pressure is a risk factor that you can actually control. Medication and/or lifestyle changes (healthy diet, lower salt, increased exercise) can keep blood pressure in check and drastically reduce your risk of stroke.

So…if you know your blood pressure, you can do something about it!

The Stroke Association hold regular Know Your Blood Pressure events where you can get your BP checked for free and get free information and advice. I have been along to one this week at Tesco Extra in Chesterfield, Derbyshire this week, with Sophie Dawson, Information, Advice & Support Coordinator for the Stroke Association. Julie Bowler, Assistant Regional Manager was there too and several volunteers came to help. We took 47 blood pressures and gave out loads of information and leaflets.

So get your blood pressure checked at an event or your GP – it could save your life!


Julie taking my BP – it was normal thank goodness!


Me with Sophie and the lovely volunteers!



It’s Day 14 and I’m stuffed!


It was Purple Bake Off day today in the Stroke Association East Midlands office for Action on Stroke Month! I had the very hard job of judging the entries, alongside fellow esteemed volunteer Fred Higton, who is a stroke survivor and does loads of volunteer work for the Stroke Association in Nottingham, including running the art group.

Purple is the Stroke Association’s main brand colour, so it has all been about the purple today – clothes, accessories, food, face paint… All to raise awareness (and an excuse for some fun).

Laura’s lovely lilac cake with the sparkly bear head design was best in show, winning Best Overall Bake and Best Tasting Bake. Judges comments were: “Even bake; light; superb.” Well done Laura!

Also ran:

Rosemary’s gingerbread beehive – winner of Most Original Bake“Good biscuit, slightly soggy, good flavour, nice taste”

Julie’s Tedward gingerbread bear – winner of Best Looking Bake“Biscuit even; slightly odd flavour”

Gemma’s choc beetroot Ted-topped cake – winner of Most Purple Bake“Moist, even bake; good crumb; tastes of chocolate”

Sue’s blueberry topped cake – “lovely light sponge; light, moist, even bake, very nice”

Alexa’s dark purple round cake – “purple colour a little dark; good texture; good flavour”

Marty’s beetroot falafel – “more dark red than purple; nice flavour”

………………So…same again tomorrow everyone?

You can now support the Stroke Association through me by texting PTED92 £2 (or whatever amount you like!) to 70070. Thanks!



A purple picnic with a bear, a gnome and even some people

Today I have a guest blogger! She is Sheryl Willis, Stroke Association Family and Carer Support Coordinator – Lincolnshire. You have already heard what I did on Saturday (Forest match!) and Monday (Tutbury Castle) of the bank holiday weekend, but Sheryl kindly offered to talk about what we got up to on Sunday. She mentions my portrait (as seen in the picture) – that fantastic story will be getting a post all of it’s own so watch this space…

Here’s what Sheryl had to say:

Purple Picnic at Sutton on Sea Beach – Sunday 4 May 2014

About 15 of us, as well as Prince Tedward Smith and a giant blue gnome all went to the seaside on Sunday 4 May for a purple picnic in aid of ‘Action on Stroke’ month and we had a wonderful time.

Everyone wore as much purple as possible – and we all took purple things with us – so we could make as big a splash of purple as possible – we had purple picnic rugs, purple stroke balloons, stroke Association bunting, purple picnic sets, purple buckets and spades, purple beach ball etc.

…and of course had our very own teddy bear mascot Prince Tedward Smith with us – and he was pleased to bring along with him a portrait of himself setting out on tour for the month – which was kindly painted by a stroke survivor in Horncastle.

He also brought with him his friend Mr Giant Blue Gnome – who although not purple was almost as he had a blue face and was dressed very becomingly in a step out purple t-shirt. Mr Giant Blue Gnome sat very nicely for the photos with us all but then sat on the wall facing out to the prom. He drew a lot of attention to himself (and us) sitting there – which of course gave us the chance to talk to passers-by and let them know who we were and what we were doing there.

The day was a roaring success and after having our purple picnic on the beach we then had a purple quiz and a purple treasure hunt – for which we gave out purple prizes! We even had a family with 3 children who were sitting close by us who were delighted to join in with these activities.

After all of this the more energetic played beach ball games (with a purple ball of course), beach quoits (and of course one of the quoits was purple), or dug and made sand castles (with purple buckets and spades).

……………and in the middle of all of this fun and games we even managed to talk to lots of people and give out lots of FAST leaflets and TIA (mini-stroke) leaflets, explaining that it was Action on Stroke month and that was why we were here – and that our theme for this May is ‘mini stroke – it’s not just a funny turn’. We were really encouraged when nearly everyone we spoke to said that they had also heard and seen about this over the media during the past few days.

The day finished around 4pm and everyone agreed it had been a roaring success and we would have to do it again next year – and my 10 year old enjoyed it so much he asked if we could do it every 6 months and not just once a year (although I did point out to him that it may be a bit cold in November!)


Day 8: Peggy’s Charity Tea Dance


Today was the annual tea dance organised by dance teacher Peggy Payne at St Jude’s Church Hall, Mapperley, Nottingham. Peggy’s husband Gordon suffered a stroke and she has supported the Stroke Association ever since. Sadly, Gordon died 3 years ago, so now Peggy holds the dances in memory of him.

Peggy has raised over £1,500 for the stroke Association over the years. What an inspiring lady, it was an honour to meet her. She taught me a few steps and I turned out to be “quite a mover” (so I was told anyway, maybe everyone was just being kind!)

Louise and Alexa from the Stroke Association East Midlands fundraising team tagged along with me today. They are really nice, but they insisted I should wear “appropriate” clothing…talk about embarrassing!



Day 7: Making Waves on the Radio


I have had an exciting insight into the world of broadcasting this morning!

I was made very welcome at BBC Radio Nottingham, where DJ Mark Dennison was doing a feature on Stroke for Action on Stroke Month. You can listen to his broadcast here:

The feature starts around 2hrs 12, with a story about Paul Jackson from Ruddington who had a ministroke recently. Stay tuned during the Erasure song, because after there is a great interview with Simon (my footie mate!) Regional Head of Operations for Stroke Association in the East Midlands. Simon talks about spotting the signs of stroke and ministroke (TIA) and what to do if it happens.

I was a bit too nervous to go on air myself, I am more action than words! 

Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook and Twitter @StrokePrinceTed to help me spread the word on stroke.

Here I am with Mark Dennison:


Action on Stroke: A Bear Bank Holiday


It was a glorious bank holiday weekend in the East Midlands and I’ve been out and about spreading the word for stroke month and ministroke and having a a grand old time along the way.

Who ate all the pies?
I got to go to the footie on Saturday! I dragged my mate Simon along too (he is East Midlands Regional Head of Operations for the Stroke Association but is cooler than that makes him sound). I’ve always been a Nottingham Forest fan but this was the first time I’ve ever been to a match. I didn’t get to eat one pie, let alone all of them, but I’m more of a honey sort of bear myself anyway. I hope you like my photos, I think you can tell that I was pretty made up to be there… We didn’t win, but even that couldn’t wipe the smile off my face! Loads of people asked me about my sash so Simon and I got a chance to talk about stroke month and raise awareness off ministroke and the “Not Just a Funny Turn” campaign – check out these videos of celebrities telling jokes to put a smile on your face!

A castle fit for this Prince
My other weekend highlight was going to Tutbury Castle with my friend Orla (the one with the candy floss! Yes, she did share it with me…the first time I’ve eaten food fluffier than me!) We met a slightly crazy grey parrot – no Monty Python jokes please, this one was very much alive – and yes, I really was as nervous as I look… Close encounters aside, naturally I felt right at home at the castle – a right royal day out.