A STROKE survivor who was left with difficulties speaking is supporting a campaign to raise awareness of the challenges faced by others like him.

Bill Eales from Ringwood had a stroke in October 2016 and is one of thousands of people living with communication difficulties after a stroke.

The 84-year-old said: “I could talk a little bit but I soon realised I had a problem. Every day in hospital they showed me cards with objects on. I knew what they were, but I couldn’t say it. It was really frustrating.

“I easily forget words and sometimes I know exactly what I want to say, but it just doesn’t come out. I once went to a coffee shop and as I went to ask for my usual order, the words just disappeared. The waitress impatiently reeled off lots of different coffees she could make me, but I was so confused and felt under pressure. The words just wouldn’t come out. A few days later, I used a Stroke Association card which explains that I have aphasia to inform another shop keeper when I was buying a present for my brother in law’s birthday. This was very helpful.”

Bill is supporting the Stroke Association’s Lost for Words campaign which aims to raise awareness of the challenges stroke survivors with communication difficulties can face, and help and support available.

Bill said: “After my stroke the Stroke Association supported me. Attending communication sessions and group meetings has helped to build my confidence, and speak to others who are in the same position as me. I’m really proud of my recovery; three weeks ago, I was able to make a speech at my daughter’s wedding. That was a huge achievement for me, and one I’m so thankful for and extremely proud of.”

Yvonne Hobbs, communication support coordinator at the Stroke Association, said: “After a stroke, around one in three people like Bill have difficulty communicating, which can be both terrifying and isolating. But with the right help and support, many stroke survivors are able to find new ways to communicate, and can rebuild their lives.”

More than 350,000 people in the UK have aphasia, a communication disability which can be caused by stroke.

For more information about the Lost for Words campaign go to stroke.org.uk/lostforwords.