THE wife of a Monmouthshire stroke survivor has praised a charity project that has made a “huge difference” in helping her husband bounce back after being struck down in 2016.

Wayne Tucker was 65 when a stroke that May left him unable to speak or fully move his right side.

Instead of enjoying retirement from his work as a dairyman, Mr Tucker, a grandfather, who also helped run his family’s livery yard, found himself in the Royal Gwent and Nevill Hall Hospitals for a total of more than two months.

“The stroke happened during the night. We went to bed as usual, then he woke me up at 5.30am, unable to speak or move his right side,” said Mrs Tucker.

“His mouth was dropping a little too, so I called an ambulance straight away. But there wasn’t anything really they could do as they weren’t sure at what time the stroke had happened.

“He has got a bit stronger and can walk a few steps, but he still can’t speak much.”

After returning home from hospital, Mr Tucker was visited by the Stroke Association’s Phoenix Project co-ordinator Lauren Heath, who leads the charity’s support for people with speech and language difficulties (aphasia) in Monmouthshire.

“He wouldn’t go to the group Lauren told us about to start with but she came over for a few weeks to show Wayne what sort of things they did there,” said Mrs Tucker.

“When he did go, being part of one of the Phoenix Project’s aphasia cafes really helped, because being with others who’d had strokes gave Wayne the confidence to be out and about without feeling embarrassed about not being able to speak.

“Wayne used to paint, so they did a bit of that, and singing and practicing using apps to help communicate. The main thing was that at the cafes, he wasn’t the only one, which made a huge difference.”

The Stroke Association’s Lost for Words campaign raises awareness of the communication difficulties that stroke survivors like Mr Tucker, can face, and of the help and support available.

More than 20,000 people in Wales have aphasia, a communication disability which can be caused by stroke. Its Phoenix Project aphasia cafes are held in Abergavenny and Monmouth.

For more information, call 029 2052 4400 or e-mail

For details on Lost for Words, visit ‪‪