Headway Suffolk

Ipswich Hub 01473 712225

Bury Hub 01284 702535

Weekend of trailing raises £1,500 from Suffolk riders

A group of 65 motorcyclists combined a weekend of trail riding fun in the Suffolk and Norfolk countryside with raising a fantastic £1,500 for Headway Suffolk.

The Suffolk Trail Riders (STR), a green lane motorcycle club riding byways and unclassified country roads all around England, organised the Iceni weekend event in April in their latest efforts to raise money for Headway Suffolk, a charity which supports local adults with brain injury and neurological conditions and their families.

Colin Pountney, STR chairman, said: “I come from Newmarket where there are a lot of horse riders and I know that horse riding and riding a motorcycle are two ways high on the list of sustaining a head injury, and we at STR are more than happy to help out a little when we can.

“I’ve had school friends in the past who have had head injuries and they have had to give up riding for life. It brings it home to you that it can happen at any time.”

Colin added that these weekends have attracted riders from all over the country, including Manchester, Devon and Wiltshire, and the Iceni ride was a whole weekend of riding for £30, with free camping at the Angel Inn in Larling, near Thetford, plus a BBQ and raffle.

The group also opened up the field on Saturday night for the local bike shop to showcase their new bikes.

Colin said: “The Angel Inn is perfectly situated with Suffolk on one side and Norfolk on the other side. It’s all about meeting up and enjoying a weekend of riding for £30, while raising money for good cause like Headway Suffolk.“


Helen Fairweather, Headway Suffolk’s Chief Executive, said: “We are very grateful to the Suffolk Trail Riders for raising such a fantastic amount and thinking of us while having a weekend of great trail riding fun I’m sure!

“When funding is tight, it’s very useful and a lifeline for us when groups such as STR go out of their way to support us like this, which helps us to deliver our wide variety of services across Suffolk for local adults with brain injury and neurological conditions.”

The STR meet up on the first Monday of the month in Fornham All Saints, near Bury St Edmunds, and have further events coming up in the summer. To find out more and to join the group, go to the Suffolk Trail Riders Facebook page.

Headway Suffolk helps users work on their life skills and cognitive abilities, as well as speech, mobility and daily functioning, and increase confidence and social integration through its wide range of rehabilitation, therapy and support services.

Brain Injury survivors share their stories during ABI Week

Local brain injury survivors Amy Cowley and Ruby Alston have shared their stories to help raise awareness of brain injury and the work of Headway Suffolk during Action for Brain Injury Week (13-19 May).

Both Amy and Ruby give candid accounts of the difficulties they tackle in their daily lives and the progression they have made during recovery from traumatic brain injuries sustained in road accidents in inspiring, uplifting and powerful reads.


Amy Cowley, 37, from Felsham near Bury St Edmunds, suffered a severe brain injury in a road accident aged 20 months. Click to read her powerful story.


Ruby Alston, 46, from Felixstowe, suffered a traumatic brain injury in a road accident in March 1992. Click to read her powerful story.

Brain Drain: Headway campaign calls for more fatigue awareness

A Suffolk charity has called for more awareness after new statistics showed brain injury survivors suffering with fatigue feel they are being misunderstood.

Headway Suffolk has made the claim after a recent survey by the national arm of the charity showed more than two thirds of respondents believe that they have been misunderstood as a result of people not understanding their brain injury-related fatigue.

Headway Suffolk is supporting a national campaign to raise awareness of the crippling effects of brain injury-related fatigue.


Congratulations to Terry Hunt on Suffolk Medal honour

Terry Hunt, trustee of Headway Suffolk

Headway Suffolk would like to congratulate our trustee Terry Hunt on being one of the first ever recipients of the Suffolk Medal, which is to reward and champion people who have made a lasting difference in the county.

He has been an invaluable asset to our Board with his expertise and guidance helping to shape the charity to continue to grow and meet its targets.

Terry was editor of the East Anglian Daily Times for more than 20 years until he retired in September 2017.

He was born and educated in Suffolk, and alongside his support for local business, sport, education and tourism, Terry has a particular interest in rural life and fully embraced his role as president of the Suffolk Agricultural Association in 2015.

“As chair of Ipswich Vision, Terry is a long-standing champion for the regeneration of our county town, Ipswich and its important role as the key driver of a healthy Suffolk economy,” the judges’ citation stated.

“Terry has been a huge supporter of Suffolk’s voluntary sector, and his endorsement and hands-on editorial support for their Suffolk Surviving Winter appeal has seen it consistently lead the UK in the amounts it has raised to support older vulnerable people during the winter months.

“Many other local charitable initiatives simply would not have delivered all that they have without his passionate and consistent editorial.”

Since Terry’s retirement, he has become a volunteer for more than a dozen organisations – he is currently a trustee of Inspire Suffolk, Headway Suffolk and St Elizabeth Hospice.

He is also chair of the development board at the Museum of East Anglian Life.

The judges added: “One of Terry’s greatest attributes is the way he has used his own personal challenges and those of his family to increase his own understanding and to take action on behalf of others.

“His approach has always been to roll up his sleeves and this has proved to be an inspiration and a catalyst for positive change to local lives across the county.”

Terry spoke of his surprise at being honoured in this way.

He said: “I am delighted, and very surprised, to be one of the first recipients of the new Suffolk Medal.

“To be honoured in this way by my home county means a huge amount to me. I was enormously privileged to be the editor of the EADT for more than 20 years, and since retirement I have been lucky to work with some brilliant Suffolk organisations.

“I would like to thank the Lord Lieutenant and the other members of the nominations panel, all the people who have helped me through the years, and especially my family for their love and support – and for putting up with me!”

Terry, along with other winners Sally Fogden and Richard Martineau, will be presented with their medals on June 20 at the Museum of East Anglian Life.

Designed by Suffolk artist Maggi Hambling and masterminded by 2018-19 High Sheriff George Vestey, the Suffolk Medal is thought to be the first of its kind in the country.

Administered by the Suffolk Community Foundation, the award’s purpose is to recognise, reward and champion “exceptional” contributions of people living in Suffolk – those who have made a fundamental, measurable and lasting difference to people’s lives.

Key elements for consideration include a clear demonstration of outstanding volunteering, either as a single feat, an accumulation of personal impact over a period of time, or a lifetime of selfless service.

Winners were decided on by a panel chaired by the Lord Lieutenant, and including Suffolk’s High Sheriff, the Police and Crime Commissioner and the CEOs of Suffolk County Council, Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, Suffolk Community Foundation and Community Action Suffolk.

Judges said this year’s recipients have made their contribution to Suffolk in a variety of ways – including outstanding leadership, ambassadorship, volunteering and philanthropy.

“Our first three recipients are truly great Suffolk people that remain unfailing in their dedication in supporting Suffolk to meet many of its most difficult challenges, while also making the most of its opportunities to prosper,” they added.

Those honoured each year with the Suffolk Medal will have their names recorded and stories told at the new Suffolk Records Office, The Hold, at Ipswich Waterfront.

Thank you to the East Anglian Daily Times article for much of this content and photo.

Dr Hilda Hayo to present on Dementia at Conference

Neurology charity Headway Suffolk is delighted to announce that Dr Hilda Hayo will be a keynote speaker at its fifth Neuro Conference on Wednesday 16 October at Wherstead Park in Ipswich.

Dr Hayo is the Chief Admiral Nurse and Chief Executive of Dementia UK, the charity supporting families facing dementia through specialist nurses.

She is a dual-registered nurse with almost 40 years’ experience developing and leading dementia specialist teams and services throughout the NHS.

She has held Principal Lecturer posts at both London South Bank University and University of Northampton, specialising in older people’s mental health, dementia and community care.

She is also particularly proud of setting up a nurse-led Younger People with Dementia service in Northamptonshire, where she still retains a small clinical caseload of families.

Dr Hayo returns after presenting at last year’s Neuro Conference on early-onset dementia and its link to head injury. Her talk will again be kindly sponsored by East of England Co-Op.

In February last year, she published a book (in collaboration with two colleagues) titled Young Onset Dementia: A Guide to Recognition, Diagnosis, and Supporting Individuals with Dementia and Their Families, which identified how to deliver better and more appropriate support and care for individuals with young onset dementia and their families.

Dr Hayo said: “Dementia is one of the biggest health issues of our time, which can cause devastating effects to the person diagnosed as well as the wider family.

“Through conferences like this, we can raise awareness of what exactly families are going through and the need for post-diagnostic support to help families before they reach a crisis point.

“I’d also like to thank East of England Co-op as the generous sponsors for the conference.”


Headway Suffolk supports persons living with dementia and holds three monthly social support groups in Ipswich, Martlesham and Castle Hill (which starts June 28) for persons living with the condition and a family carer.

The charity works closely with Dementia UK and its Admiral Nurses, who work with the whole family of a person with dementia, giving families the knowledge and skills they need to face dementia with more confidence.

Dr Hayo is one of several neurological experts who will present at the conference, which includes television and radio broadcaster Chris Tarrant, who will talk about suffering a stroke and his road to recovery.

Headway Suffolk has attracted huge interest in its previous four conferences, with TV health expert Robert Winston presenting on the human mind last year; author Jane Hawking talking about her life as a family carer in 2017, famed scientist Stephen Hawking making a rare public appearance to discuss his life with motor neurone disease in 2016, and local brain injury survivor Andrew Renton taking his first public steps in 21 years in 2015.

This year’s event promises to be another highlight in Suffolk’s calendar with Dr Hilda Hayo and Chris Tarrant set to be joined by other eminent keynote speakers to be announced in due course to address delegates on a variety of subjects related to brain injury and neurology.

Early tickets, priced at £40 each (plus booking fee), can be purchased directly through Eventbrite: www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/headway-suffolk-neuro-conference-2019-tickets-55527680788.

Storm Hannah can’t halt Headway cyclists and walkers

Sixty-eight cyclists and walkers braved “brutal” Storm Hannah to take part in Headway Suffolk’s Cycle Ride and Walk in Ipswich on Saturday (27 April).

The mixture of 50mph winds, ice-cold rain and hail made conditions extra gruelling for those tackling the 30, 40 and 50 cycling routes through Ipswich, Martlesham, Felixstowe and Newbourne, as well as those on their feet for the 10-mile walk to the University of Suffolk and back to Headway on West Road on the Ransomes Eurorpark, where a buffet proved more than welcoming.

Among those taking part were Tony and Leanne Baines, who took it in turns, along with Headway support workers James and Lydia, to propel their 18-year-old son Mark, who is blind and deaf after suffering a brain haemorrhage as a young child, in his specially-adapted wheelchair bike around the course.

Leanne said: “It was a fantastic experience and everyone enjoyed it, including Mark, who was singing all the time!

“It was hard work up and down the hills as Mark’s bike is very heavy and you have to take it slowly because you have to back pedal when going down hills, so it takes extra effort to brake and you can’t really freewheel.

“It was nice to get to the end and it was a great atmosphere. It was great to pedal with James and Lydia, because they are young and very enthusiastic, and often on other rides I’ve done you can get separated but we didn’t.

“We all expected beforehand not to make it all the way round but we did, cutting off a few hills and we did 25 miles. We were very proud of ourselves.”


A large bulk of the cyclists, 25, were from asset and property management company Seven Group, who have been a mainstay of the charity’s flagship fundraising event since it started 11 years ago. They have so far raised approaching £3,000 for Saturday and expect it to rise further.

Steve Cole, the group’s deputy Managing Director, said: “The weather wasn’t certainly good for cycling, so we reduced the miles we did from 50 to 30 for safety reasons. Everyone achieved getting round with no traumas or issues, which is always good.

“We enjoy the Cycle Ride. It’s good fun but usually when the weather’s better! We had some customers join us this year, which was great, with a couple coming up from Dorset and a couple from Hadleigh.

“We have a good core of people who support us and Headway Suffolk is a great charity doing tremendous work and we’re very pleased to support it.”


Ashtons Legal, one of East Anglia’s leading law firm, are also a regular backer of Headway Suffolk and have taken part in a number of its Cycle Rides, with eight participants on Saturday.

“The weather was brutal,” said Dave Richardson, their Customer Relationship Manager, “and if it wasn’t for a good cause we probably would have stayed at home. The strong winds made getting up hills double the amount of work than usual.

“Apart from that, it was an enjoyable ride and we like supporting Headway Suffolk, so it makes it all worthwhile.”


Tandem duo Alicia Ray and Ellen Burman also made it round the course safely and with smiles as they enjoyed the camaraderie and team spirit of the event.

Alicia, 19, from Ipswich and Ellen, 22, from Woodbridge, have both worked as brain injury rehabilitation staff at Headway Suffolk for less than a year and they decided to pair up on a tandem.

Alicia, who is also training to be a paramedic, said: “It was a lot of fun and not as difficult as we had expected. We got a good rhythm and worked really well together.

“It was great as on the ride other cyclists were asking how we were doing and giving us support, so it was really friendly, and the bad weather wasn’t too bad so we were very happy we did it.”

Headway Suffolk’s chief executive, Helen Fairweather, battled on to the end by cycling the entire 50 miles and thanked everyone for their fantastic efforts.

She said: “Everyone did extremely well considering the bad weather, with the strong winds whipping up sand off the fields.

“We really appreciate everyone’s efforts and achievements on the day to help promote the work of Headway Suffolk for local adults with brain injury and neurological conditions, and raising funds for our new Professor Stephen Hawking Neuro Centre in Ipswich.”

Headway Suffolk helps users rebuild lost skills, improve confidence and increase social integration through its rehabilitation, therapy and support services.

For further information about Headway Suffolk’s work and fundraising, visit www.headwaysuffolk.org.uk/events.

Headway hails quiz night a success

Forty-four enthusiastic quizzers helped to raise £658.05 for brain injury charity Headway Suffolk at its quiz night at its hub in Bury St Edmunds on April 11.

The evening was one of a number of fundraising events this year to celebrate the fifth anniversary of Headway Suffolk, which formed on 1 April 2014 after more than 30 years of supporting local adults with acquired brain injuries and neurological conditions in the county separately as Ipswich and East Suffolk Headway and West Suffolk Headway.

Eleven teams enjoyed 10 rounds on a variety of subjects, including science, music and gardening, with the winners Headway Hunters scoring 73 from 100 to bag themselves a hamper full of goodies.


David Crane, the charity’s communications and marketing officer, said: “It was a very successful event and it was really pleasing to see everyone’s hard work pay off with such a great turnout and friendly atmosphere.

“We were particularly happy to have an array of people taking part, from service users and their families, volunteers and staff, supporters, adult social care teams, solicitors Ashtons and Bury Town Council. We literally couldn’t squeeze another body into the room!

“Our enormous thanks goes to all those who took part, those who helped with preparations and the many local businesses and attractions who generously donated wonderful prizes. We certainly envisage doing it again and using the winning formula to host one in Ipswich.”

Those who donated prizes were: Bill’s restaurant, Kaspa’s, Nando’s, All Over Beauty, Suffolk Owl Sanctuary, Forestry England, Wilko, Glasswells, Ipswich Town FC, Theatre Royal, Mildenhall Speedway, Zoological Society of East Anglia, Suffolk Show and Aspall.


Headway supports local adults with acquired brain injuries and neurological conditions, as well as their families, in their recovery through its extensive range of rehabilitation, therapy and support services.

The Suffolk charity Suffolk has gone from strength to strength by helping 250 people every week rebuild lost skills, improve confidence and increase social integration at its hubs throughout the county, as well as providing support to individuals in their own home and local community.

For further information about Headway Suffolk’s events, visit www.headwaysuffolk.org.uk/events.

Ellen & Alicia Go Tandem For Cycle Ride

Two young brain injury rehabilitation assistants from Headway Suffolk will pair up and ride a tandem in the charity’s Cycle Ride and Walk in Ipswich on Saturday (27 April).

Ellen Burman and Alicia Ray will cycle the 30-mile route from Headway’s base at Epsilon House on the Ransomes Europark in West Road, Ipswich, through Nacton, Levington, Trimley, Felixstowe, Newbourne and Bucklesham, and finishing back at Headway.

Ellen, 22, from Woodbridge, joined Headway Suffolk in September last year and provides support to clients in the Ipswich hub and in the community, including 18-year-old Mark Baines, who suffered a brain haemorrhage as a young child that has left him blind and deaf.

Mark will also be taking part in the event in his specially-adapted wheelchair bike that is attached to other bikes and will be propelled in turn by his parents and two support workers.

“I’m very excited to be doing the Cycle Ride,” said Ellen. “Helen (Fairweather) asked if I wanted to do it and I said I would if it was on a tandem and the next thing I know she’s got one!

“It’s going to be great fun and team building and I’m really looking forward to meeting everyone. I’ll be at the front to start with but then Alicia and I will probably rotate. We’ve been practising most mornings.

“In my job I enjoy helping clients progress and getting out and about doing activities and being productive. It helps to boost their confidence so they are not afraid to go out.

“I’d like to continue progressing with Headway and specialise in a certain area.”

Alicia, 19, from Ipswich has been with Headway Suffolk since the end of August last year and, alongside working for the charity, is halfway through studying to be a paramedic at the University of Suffolk.

“It’s going to be really good and fun but also challenging!” she said. “It was difficult at first learning to cycle a tandem but with the practising we’ve been doing we’ve got used it.

“Everyone was talking about the Cycle Ride and we joked at first about doing the tandem but then thought ‘why not?’

“I’m really enjoying working at Headway in the hub and meeting new clients and doing one-to-one work on projects and other activities, such as cognitive games and exercises, in a group.”

Helen Fairweather, Headway Suffolk’s chief executive, said: “It’s great to see two young people want to take part and have fun and raise money for the charity. It shows real enthusiasm and dedication and it’s an excellent team building opportunity.”

The event, which has raised £50,000 for the charity in the last ten years, starts at 9am and there are 30, 40 and 50-mile cycling routes, along with a 10-mile walk.

It’s just £10 to participate unless you have sponsorship. There are spaces for participants to take part at late notice by phoning 01473 712225 by Friday lunchtime.

Headway Suffolk helps users rebuild lost skills, improve confidence and increase social integration through its rehabilitation, therapy and support services. It is fundraising to build the Professor Stephen Hawking Neuro Centre, a new rehabilitation hub and housing centre in Ipswich.

For further information about Headway Suffolk’s events, visit www.headwaysuffolk.org.uk/events.

Quiz Night to mark 5 years of Headway Suffolk

A charity quiz night is being held in Bury St Edmunds on Thursday 11 April at 7pm to celebrate Headway Suffolk’s fifth anniversary and fundraise for its cause.

Headway supports local adults with acquired brain injuries and neurological conditions, as well as their families, in their recovery through its extensive range of rehabilitation, therapy and support services.

The Suffolk charity was formed on 1 April 2014 following the merger of East and West Suffolk, and since then it’s gone from strength to strength by helping 250 people every week rebuild lost skills, improve confidence and increase social integration at its hubs throughout the county, as well as providing support to individuals in their own home and local community.

It’s marking its fifth anniversary with the quiz night at its premises at St Georges House in Olding Road, which is next to the West Suffolk Council car park. The event costs £10 per person, which includes a cold buffet and refreshments, with teams of up to four people. There will be great prizes and a raffle.

To book your place, contact the charity’s communications and marketing officer David Crane on 01284 702535 or email davidcrane@headwaysuffolk.org.uk but places are now very limited and need to be confirmed by 9am on April 8.

David Crane said: “The quiz night promises to be a fun and enjoyable evening as we have service users, families, volunteers, staff, friends and supporters all taking part, as well as colleagues from Ashtons Legal, Suffolk County Council and Bury Town Council.

“2019 is a big year for Headway Suffolk as we celebrate our fifth anniversary year, as well as continuing our big plans to build the Professor Stephen Hawking Neuro Centre in Ipswich and continuing talks with St Edmundsbury Council to be part of the new Western Way development for a new hub in Bury St Edmunds.

“Local businesses and supporters can get involved by taking part in the quiz night or donating items for winning and raffle prizes.”

For further information about Headway Suffolk’s events, visit www.headwaysuffolk.org.uk/events.

To join the Facebook event page, go to: www.facebook.com/events/311304049526131.

Mark overcomes barriers to take part in Cycle Ride

A teenage brain injury survivor will take part in Headway Suffolk’s Cycle Ride and Walk in Ipswich on Saturday 27 April using his specially-adapted wheelchair bike.

Eighteen-year-old Mark Baines suffered a brain haemorrhage as a young child after being born eight weeks premature, which has left him severely sight impaired, profoundly deaf and needing the use of a wheelchair.

But that won’t stop Mark, who lives in Ipswich, taking part in the charity’s flagship fundraiser. He will be assisted by his parents Tony and Leanne, as well as Headway support workers James and Lydia, who will take it in turns to cycle Mark the course through Ipswich and surrounding areas.

Helen Fairweather, Headway Suffolk’s chief executive, said: “We are delighted that Mark is taking part and showing that, with the right support in place, having a brain injury or a neurological condition isn’t a barrier to achieving your aspirations.

“Mark and his family have found the support of Headway Suffolk invaluable with his rehabilitation and keeping his mind and body active. He really enjoys arts and crafts at our Ipswich hub and going swimming with our community team.

“We hope his courage inspires others to take part in our Cycle Ride and Walk, which is our main fundraising event of the year. It’s a perfect way for individuals and companies to get active, have fun and join in the camaraderie of raising money for a local charity that supports local people.”

The event, which has raised £50,000 for the charity in the last ten years, starts (and finishes) at 9am at its premises at Epsilon House in West Road on the Ransomes Europark in Ipswich.

Leanne Baines, Mark’s mother, said: “We are really pleased that Headway’s young support workers have come forward so enthusiastically as a group to help Mark take part. As a parent, the whole attitude of ‘how can we get Mark involved and make this happen?’ instead of saying it’s too hard, is fantastic.

“It’s been incredible support from Headway with nothing too much bother and offering things such as a back-up van.

“Headway is a relatively new place for Mark and everything he is getting in support is everything we could hope for.

“Mark has a packed and varied week of stimulating activities, such as trampolining, going to the theatre, cycling, going to Alton Water and taking part in music sessions. The staff also find places outside where they can walk with Mark safely.”

Headway Suffolk helps users rebuild lost skills, improve confidence and increase social integration through rehabilitation, therapy and support services. It has recently submitted planning permission to build the Professor Stephen Hawking Neuro Centre, a new rehabilitation hub and housing centre in Ipswich.

Supporters can get involved in helping the exciting new build by taking part in the Cycle Ride and Walk, which comprises 30, 40 and 50-mile cycle routes through Ipswich, Felixstowe and Martlesham, with a new and improved 10-mile route for walkers.

It’s just £10 to participate unless you have sponsorship. It is open to everyone and is an ideal team-building exercise for companies to compete to win the Headway Shield by raising the most sponsorship.

To find out more, visit www.headwaysuffolk.org.uk/events, telephone 01473 712225 or email helenfairweather@headwaysuffolk.org.uk.