Norwich City stars back stroke awareness campaign

Norwich City stars back stroke awareness campaign

by DAN GRIMMER Monday, April 18, 2011
11:59 AM

 Joyce and Colin Bell

Joyce and Colin Bell, pictured with Stephen Fry at Carrow Road last year , pictured with Stephen Fry at Carrow Road last year


Norwich City stars past and present have been doing their bit to raise awareness of strokes, inspired by a couple who have tirelessly campaigned for early diagnosis.

Former Aviva worker Colin Bell, 58, from Thorpe End, spent five months at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital after a stroke in October 2005 and had to re-learn how to walk and talk.

Despite the tragic loss of his daughter Jennifer to a brain tumour the following year and his 57-year-old wife Joyce having recently being diagnosed with bowel cancer, the family, who are keen Canaries fans, have been working tirelessly to help raise awareness of stroke and brain tumours.

Norwich City stars helped raise awareness about how to spot signs of strokes before Friday’s crunch Championship promotion clash with Nottingham Forest.

In the warm up before the game, the players wore T-shirts branded with the Stroke Association’s FAST (Face, Arms, Speech and Time) campaign, which drives home key messages to help recognise the signs of strokes.

Mrs Bell said: “Our experiences have made us keen to raise awareness wherever we can and also to stress the importance of effective communication between health professionals, patients and carers to enable early diagnosis and appropriate treatment.”

The family believe Mr Bell’s stroke could have been as a result of high blood pressure and they are keen to let people know that lifestyle changes help to reduce that.

About 40pc of strokes could be prevented if people with high blood pressure got treated, and former Canaries’ star Darren Huckerby agreed to have his blood pressure taken to help encourage supporters to do the same.

He said: “I found out that my blood pressure is slightly higher than I’d like it to be and, because of that, I will definitely be keeping an eye on it in the future and having it checked more regularly.

“I would encourage anyone reading this – no matter how fit you think you are – to get your blood pressure checked. It’s so quick and easy and could even save your life.”

Neil Chapman, assistant regional manager for The Stroke Association, said: “We’d like to thank Aviva and Norwich City for this opportunity.

“In Norfolk, 17,887 people are estimated to have had a stroke last year.

“Of the two thirds expected to have survived their stroke, it is estimated that almost 6,000 are currently, like Colin, living with the long-term effects of stroke.”

He added: “The Stroke Association has many stroke support groups available across Norfolk, helping people get back to their lives after a stroke including long term support, communication support and family and carer support.” Further information about strokes or The Stroke Association are available by calling the Stroke Information Service on 0303 30 33 100, or by visiting the website at

Last October, the Bells helped organise a similar awareness day for Brain Tumour UK at Carrow Road, where they met Canaries director Stephen Fry.