People often ask me what else I do when working on Ideal World. It’s an interesting one as I can honestly say all the other things I do involve talking in someway, which makes me happy and puts to rights all the times I had my name up on the blackboard at school for talking too much 🙂
For nearly 14 years I have been a reader for the charity Interact Stroke. In between my freelance presenting I visit people recovering from having a stroke in London hospitals or community clubs.
15 years ago, two of my mum’s best friends both had strokes and when I would visit them in hospital, I used to read the TV Times or the newspapers to keep them up to speed with daily news. I would make it fun and get them smiling, I had no idea I was laying the foundations for an opportunity to do this on a much larger scale the following year.
Around this time I was working in a marketing company and a colleague who was also an actor would leave early a few times a week. I discovered that she was a reader for Interact and I immediately wanted to be involved!
Over the years I have read, sang, played quizzes and games with the patients from as young as 15 to 105 years old!! I feel so fortunate to be part of the recovery of the patients in this way and the hospital staff are always so encouraging and supportive of what we do, often joining in with the songs or a poem they know.
The best parts of supporting a patient who is recovering from a stroke is when I start to recite a song or a poem and out of the blue they start reciting it too and the nurse will tell you that’s the first time they’ve heard them speak! The other great things are seeing them gradually improve and by the time you return to the hospital expecting just a couple of words but they start speaking with you and holding a conversation. As I live close to the hospital the most wonderful thing is when you bump into them in the street and you can see they have got their life back!
This is a small insight into my life however it is one of the most enjoyable and rewarding aspects of it.
Take care all,