Giving Voice

Sunday, 23 December 2012

A Cute Christmas wish!

I didn’t think I’d be blogging again before Christmas but I thought this was too cute not to share! Whilst looking after my 7-year-old niece yesterday she drew this Christmas picture! How cute!

Here’s what it says “Giving Voice is the best at Christmas because it helps you speak in the Happy New Year 2013, the year coming. Happy Christmas and a Merry New Year everyone. Love from Toni Anne Seago. oxoxox”
I think it’s lovely that Toni has recognised that Giving Voice will continue to support (and raise awareness of) speech and language therapy in the New Year! 
On another note, here’s me feeling festive in my new Giving Voice t-shirt from RCSLT. Get one of your own from the Giving Voice website. Don’t forget if you want to find out more about getting involved in the Giving Voice working group contact

Merry Christmas everyone!!

Friday, 21 December 2012

Merry Christmas!

December has been a busy month so far and I’ve had little time to blog, therefore this is a little bit of everything!

On 7th December, I attended the annual charity ball of Heel and Toe, at the Civic Centre, Newcastle. This was a brilliant night supporting a fantastic charity.

What they do:

“Heel & Toe Children’s Charity provides free therapy to children with Cerebral Palsy, Dyspraxia and any other movement condition. This is provided through a system of learning called Conductive Education. Any child can benefit and parents/carers are encouraged to take an active role in their own development.” Check out their website for more information.

I am extremely grateful that Heel and Toe regularly retweet my Giving Voice blog! I also met Brendan Healy, comedian, on the night and I thanked him personally for retweeting my blog (as my dad was taking our photo!) It was a pleasure to meet him, though I (foolishly) told him I’m from Ashington which led to our table being ‘picked on' a little bit (all in good fun!)

Brendan Healy and me

 I wrote to the News Post Leader following my Giving Voice award and was pleased to see they published a short piece in the paper and on line last week – click here to read the article.

I was delighted that React2 asked me to be their guest blogger, where I wrote about Giving Voice. is an online-based, interactive speech and language therapy tool for adults and children with a communication impairment due to:

  • Aphasia after stroke or brain injuries
  • Cognitive communication disorder after brain injury
  • Learning difficulties
  • Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD)
  • Down’s Syndrome
  • Delayed or disordered language
  • Dementia

You can check out my Giving Voice guest entry on their blog here.

On Tuesday night I attended the first Giving Voice working group meeting (via telephone) and this has made me even more enthusiastic about the campaigning year ahead! If you want to get involved in the working group contact Emma at RCSLT for more information

I probably won’t get the chance to blog again before Christmas so here's wishing you a Merry Christmas! I will hopefully do a final blog of the year! 

~ Speech and Language Therapy Transforms Lives ~

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Troublesome trains & helpful hashtags!

One week today since the RCSLT Honours and Giving Voice awards. I’d been looking forward to the day for over a month (since I received the phonecall to say I had won the Giving Voice ‘Newly Qualified Practitioner’ Award) so I thought I’d take this opportunity to write about my day…
My alarm was set for 5am and I awoke with excitement (not usually being a morning person, I found it surprisingly easy to pull myself out of bed). I had my breakfast and a cup of tea before getting ready for the exciting day ahead. I’d been shopping for a new dress the weekend before so I couldn’t wait to wear it! My parents were up and about early too as my dad was my guest and my mam our taxi to the train station!
I had been following the weather and train updates on Monday and was expecting that we might be delayed a little so was glad we had booked such an early train (6.55am). Also, I had arranged to go the awards half an hour early to talk about my experiences of the campaign to be recorded for the RCSLT website.
 Sitting in the train station with our cups of tea, I noticed the display board said our train was delayed, so I was excited and pleasantly surprised when it turned up on time. In just over 3 hours’ time I would be in the capital city meeting lots of other speech and language therapists!
We got on board and found our seats, placing our bags on the shelf overhead. Settled in our seats with a half-finished cup of tea, I told my dad how excited I was for the day ahead.
That’s when things began to go wrong… an announcement came over the tannoy and said that there were delays further along the track so we had to wait until this was sorted. They couldn’t specify how long it would be so we just had to sit it out. An hour after our train was due to leave I saw Lee Ridley (Lost Voice Guy – winner of Celebrity Ambassador of the Year) with his mam, and two representatives from the North East Trust for Aphasia  (winners of Giving Voice Partnership award), standing on the platform (for the 7.55am train). I was pleased to see them and got off the train to tell them what the latest announcement had said, (travel on Wednesday if possible, as severe delays). They spoke to the platform guard who said they could get onto our train with their tickets so we all sat together, waiting for our journey to commence.
At 8.10am another announcement came over the tannoy and it wasn’t looking hopeful to be able to get there on time. I rang my mam to see if she could look on the internet for a flight. She rang back 5 minutes later to say that she couldn’t see online if there were seats available on the flights so we would need to go to the airport and speak to someone. The only flight times were 9.20am (which was already boarding) and 12.15pm (too late), so neither of them were particularly useful anyway.
A further announcement recommended travelling on a different day if at all possible, which led to people around us leaving. The people next to us said they would travel next week as they were going to go Christmas shopping, and we engaged in a short conversation. I told them that I couldn’t travel a different day as I was going to an awards ceremony in London at noon. They congratulated me on my award win and asked what it was for, so I took the opportunity to tell them about the Giving Voice campaign.
A final announcement told us that the service was terminating here and realising that there was no chance of getting to London on time (if at all), we departed the train and headed home with a heavy heart.
By this time my mam was at work, so my dad and I decided to get a taxi home. The taxi driver was friendly and we engaged in conversation, again taking the opportunity to talk about Giving Voice.
Once at home, we made (another!) cup of tea and I got changed out of my new dress. Once it was 12pm I began following the event on twitter from the #rcsltawards hashtag. This was bittersweet as I knew I should have been there but I still enjoyed the updates (thank you to everyone who used the hashtag on the day!)
The full list of winners can be found here  - congratulations everyone!
I was happy to hear that they were still able to show my winning video so, in effect, I was at the award ceremony after all! J It sounds like it was a fantastic event and it looks like everyone enjoyed the day J
On a more positive note, I was able to celebrate my award win with my ever supportive family on Saturday night. I look forward to the arrival of my award and am truly delighted to have my campaigning efforts recognised.
All in all it was a rather disappointing day for those of us not able to attend, however I was still able to spread the word about the campaign (perhaps more so than if I’d actually been at the event) so all was not lost!
 Speech and Language Therapy Transforms Lives

My supportive family

Wednesday, 28 November 2012


Just a quick update to say huge congratulations to all the winners at the RCSLT awards yesterday. It sounds like it was a fantastic day. I was extremely disappointed that the trains were cancelled so I was unable to get to London L I enjoyed following the days event on twitter (#rcsltawards) and hearing about all the inspirational SLTs.
On another note I’ve been tweeting my blog a lot recently and am delighted to say that 68 people have retweeted it to more than 100,000 followers! In addition to this the following people retweeted my blog: Sharon Hodgson MP (4793 followers), Gareth Gates (60496 follwers), Julie Etchingham ITV (19824 followers) and Michael Le vell (Kevin from corrie – 47328 followers). I appreciate every single retweet as it all helps to spread the message further that speech and language therapy transforms lives.
I’ll blog again soon about my day yesterday (even though it didn’t quite turn out as planned!)
Congratulations to all #rcsltawards winners once again!
~ so excited that my blog has exceeded 13,000 page views! Thanks for reading! ~

Thursday, 18 October 2012

One year on...

Tuesday 18th October 2011 was one of the most exciting days of my life! I can hardly believe that it has been a whole year since the Mass Mobilisation event in Westminster, where I joined over 200 other Speech and Language Therapists to discuss speech and Language therapy with our MPs.
I have just emailed my MP, Ian Lavery, to thank him once again for meeting with me last year and also to send an update about Giving Voice. RCSLT are inviting everyone to contact their MPs this week to help mark the one year anniversary.  Whether you were able to be in Westminster last year or not, you can help mark this occasion by emailing your MP about Speech and Language Therapy.
RCSLT has prepared a short briefing to remind your MP of the campaign’s key messages, which you can get by contacting Claire Moser at RCSLT - Email:
Let’s see how many MPs we can contact between us and get them all talking about Speech and Language Therapy again! J Sending the email only takes a few minutes and could really make a difference to the campaign!
Houses of Parliament, 18th October 2011

Let’s remind our MPs that Speech and Language Therapy Transforms Lives.

“If you think you are too small to have an impact – try sleeping with a mosquito in the room!” Dame Anita Roddick

Monday, 15 October 2012


On Saturday evening I went along to Aphasiafest at The Cluny 2, Newcastle  to raise awareness of Giving Voice. Aphasiafest was a night’s entertainment to raise money for the North East Trust for Aphasia (NETA).

NETA is an independent registered charity which is self funded. Aphasia often arises after stroke or other brain trauma and it means difficulties with communication (speaking, understanding, reading, writing). Aphasia has a sudden and profound effect on the person, their family and friends. It impacts on the individual’s confidence, personal relationships, employment and social life. NETA supports people who have Aphasia in the North East, and their families as well as raising awareness of Aphasia. To find out more visit
We set off in plenty time as I’ve never been to the venue before and I am known for my poor sense of direction! I had the satnav and found the venue with no problems (well, ok! That was a tiny white lie – we arrived, on time, with just a couple of wrong turns!)
Upon arrival we were greeted by a number of friendly faces and I was told where I could put the pop up banner. We displayed it near the doorway so that people could see it on arrival. I handed out leaflets and pens and left some on each of the tables for people to read and take away. I also left some leaflets with the lady selling raffle tickets, for people to pick up as they came in.
I love talking about Giving Voice and Speech and Language Therapy and welcome opportunities to do this to audiences. I was quite excited for my little speech on Saturday night and the nerves didn’t really kick in until I got up on stage. I could feel the butterflies in my stomach, but I was determined to have them fly in formation! It doesn’t matter how many times I get up to talk in front of an audience, I still get nervous before I start to talk. I always practise what I am going to say, several times, before I give a talk, to ensure I am well prepared. However, the addition of an audience changes the whole situation and I am suddenly aware of how I am communicating. People tell me that I talk really fast, so I am always aware of this when talking in front of an audience, to ensure that I deliver the talk effectively. Making a speech, however short, always reminds me that I take my own communication skills for granted every day, and that for people with communication difficulties, day-to-day situations might feel this stressful on a regular basis.

I spoke for a couple of minutes about Giving Voice and Speech and Language Therapy, as well as some key facts about Aphasia and NETA. The audience were lovely and I think the little speech went down quite well :-)
I encouraged people to take the leaflets away with them and to pass them on to someone else to spread the message that little bit further.
There was a variety of great entertainers on the night, as well as a raffle, to raise vital funds for the valuable work of NETA. I had an enjoyable evening on Saturday and hope everyone else did too, whilst raising awareness  and valuable funds for a brilliant cause!
Speech and Language Therapy Transforms Lives

~ Thanks to everyone who reads my blog, I'm delighted it has exceeded 10,000 views! ~

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

It's Twitter time!

Welcome to my 60th post...I’m excited to see that my blog is rapidly approaching 10,000 page views! At the beginning of the year this was just over 2000 page views, so to be almost at 10,000 views is incredible! Thank you to everyone who reads it.
When I’m on twitter I often have a little look to see which celebrities are online, to tweet them my blog. Last week I tweeted it to Chico and Gary Barlow with the hope that one, or both of them might retweet it to their followers. I was very excited to find that Chico did just that (he has more than 30,000 followers!)  and he now follows me too! :-)

Retweet of my blog by Chico
#pma = positive mental attitude

Gary Barlow did not retweet my blog, but he did retweet Becky Beaumont’s. Becky is a 22 year old stroke survivor who blogs about her experiences. It is truly inspirational, and just goes to show that stroke can affect anyone at anytime in their life. Gary Barlow has more than 2 million (!) followers and it’s brilliant that he retweeted Becky’s blog to so many people! Check out Becky’s inspirational blog here -
Becky did not need a Speech and Language Therapist for her swallowing or communication needs following her stroke, however many people who have a stroke do need the specialist support of an SLT.  As you may know, the North East Trust for Aphasia offer long term support for people who have communication difficulties following a stroke (or other brain injury). Last week I got an email from NETA asking if I’d like to go along to promote Giving Voice at an event they are hosting this Saturday in Newcastle. Always welcoming of Giving Voice opportunities, I have agreed to go along with some leaflets, and to make a short speech at some point during the night :-) Event details can be found here. I’ll update my blog following the event!

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Oranges and Jelly Babies

Last Sunday I went along to the Great North Run to support the thousands of runners by giving out Oranges and Jelly Babies.  My brother-in-law, Craig was running to support the North East Trust for Aphasia and completed the run in a brilliant 1hour53 minutes – it’s not too late to sponsor him if you want to help support the valuable work of NETA here.
My sister (Joanne), niece (Toni),  and I were all wearing the Giving Voice t-shirts I got printed last week. Three friends also came along to help and they were all wearing black and pink!
To say I was excited on Sunday morning, would be an understatement! There is something about the atmosphere and the sheer determination of the runners that makes being a spectator an exciting event. This coupled with the fact that we were handing out Jelly Babies and Oranges as the exhausted runners reached the 11 mile mark, made for a very exciting day!      
As you may remember, we’ve been buying Jelly Babies every week over the last couple of months to ensure that we had plenty to hand out on the day.
In total we had 50 bags and 6 boxes of Jelly Babies, 480 quarters/eighths of orange and one large tin of Cadbury’s heroes. We gave them all away to lots of grateful people! I was very excited to see that Jeff Hordley (Cain Dingle from Emmerdale) got some Jelly Babies from Si’s tin (who was completely unaware of the exciting situation, as he’s not particularly a fan of Emmerdale!) I also offered Tom Lister (Carl from Emmerdale) a Jelly Baby but he smiled and said “No Thank You”. Lots of people thanked us for our support, even if they didn’t want a jelly baby or piece of orange. It really amazes me how people have the energy to be so polite after running 11 miles, which is another reason I love the Great North Run so much.  All of the runners are heroes in my eyes!
On Friday my dad helped me construct a board that I could display Giving Voice posters on. Well, I say he helped me, it was more the other way around! I was his glamorous assistant while he did all the hard work. What a superstar! We displayed this board near where we were standing and I noticed lots of people reading it as they ran past. Two people also cheered for Speech and Language Therapy as they recognised the Giving Voice logo and message J
Some of the jelly babies

My friend and fellow SLT, Mo did a brilliant job of shouting ‘Oranges’ and ‘Jelly babies’ - so much so I think the people at 10 miles might have heard her! Hehe!
Joanne did an amazing job of cutting up all the oranges, only stopping to deal with a medical emergency. Unfortunately a young man collapsed near my sister – luckily she is a qualified nurse and one of the other people helping, a qualified doctor, so the young man got medical attention immediately, before the St John Ambulance people came and took him to get an ambulance to hospital.

Toni, Me, Joanne and Mo

My dad came along and took some photos on the day and Toni did a brilliant job of cheering on the runners with the Jelly Baby mascots I got from Cadbury last week. My mam cut up some of the oranges while Joanne was assisting the poorly gentleman.
My nephews Darius and Dom, did a super job of handing out the oranges and jelly babies with me and running along with the runners so that they didn’t need to stop.
With thanks to everyone who helped out (particularly Joanne for being chief orange cutter – which is no mean feat!) 
And to finish, here's a short video from the day...

Speech and Language Therapy Transforms Lives

Monday, 17 September 2012

RCSLT Conference 2012

Last week I attended the RCSLT conference at The Midland Hotel, Manchester which was an inspirational and educational 2 days. It was extremely well organised with lots of brilliant speakers. The theme of the conference was Driving Transformation through Evidence Based Practice and there was lots of practical advice that SLTs could take away and put into practice.
The Midland Hotel, Manchester

It was also great to talk lots of speech and language therapists working with all different client groups, each and everyone an inspiration.
The Annual General Meeting saw the inauguration of new council chair Bryony Simpson, as Hazel Roddam, previous chair’s term came to an end. I’ve never been to an AGM previously and was grateful of the opportunity to attend while at the conference this year.

The Robin Tavistock Award is presented annually to a person, or group, who it is felt, has made a significant contribution in the field of aphasia. This year the award was presented to Professor Pam Enderby on Wednesday 12th September. It was a pleasure to be there and listening to Professor Enderby’s achievements and contributions to the field of aphasia made me extremely proud to be part of such a diverse and valuable profession. A standing ovation filled the room as Pam made her way on stage to collect the award. Read more about why Pam Enderby won the award this year. Professor Pam Enderby truly deserved to be this year’s winner.
At the end of the second day Derek Munn, Director of Policy and Public Affairs, gave an inspirational and informative Giving Voice update, ensuring that everyone knows the campaign is still ongoing and reminding people of the deadline for this year’s Giving Voice Awards (last Thursday 13th September). He encouraged that we continue to engage in the campaign to highlight the value of the profession. He pointed out that society adapts well for people who are blind, deaf or cannot walk, yet the same level of adaptations are not made for those who have difficulties with communication. I think this is a very valid point and highlights the need for us to continue to campaign on behalf of those who struggle to make their voices heard!
I had a brilliant day supporting the runners at the Great North Run yesterday and will be blogging about this over the next few days. Thank you for reading my blog, I am delighted I have almost reached 9000 page views!

Speech and Language Therapy Transforms Lives

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Tweets Galore and Jelly Mascots

I am delighted that so many people have retweeted my GNR blog entry! I’ve had more than 35 retweets of this entry and my page views have gone up a lot over the last week.
Retweets include:
TV: Nicola Wheeler (Nicola from Emmerdale – more than 18,000 followers)
Comedians – Lost Voice Guy, Emily Wood, Andrew Arrowsmith, Simon Donald, and Ian Gordon.
Radio: Koast radio and Simon Conway from metro (who said I might be on their news this week!)
I haven't listed everyone but thank you so much to each and every one of you who has taken the time to retweet and/or read my blog. It is very much appreciated.
I’m pleased that lots of people have said they will be looking out for me at the 11 mile mark and I’ve also managed to recruit some extra helpers on the day. I’m also very excited that I have Giving Voice t-shirts for us to wear. I ordered them from a local printing shop and picked them up last Friday! Only 3 days to go until the run!
You may remember that I wrote to Cadbury asking if they could support us at the Great North Run by donating some Jelly Babies or a mascot etc. I received a letter on Friday saying that they are unable to provide any sweets as they support lots of causes - but they did send two delightful cuddly Jelly Babies!  Thank you Cadbury – how cute are they! I love their little boots too – looks like they are ready to run!

Don’t forget to watch out for us on Sunday whether you are running or watching on TV (hopefully we’ll make an appearance in the background as the elite runners pass us!)
I was hoping to publish this post earlier in the week but the #RCSLTconference2012 in Manchester has kept me busy over the last few days.  I’ll blog more about that soon as it was a brilliant 2 days!!
Speech and Language Therapy Transforms Lives

Friday, 31 August 2012

Oranges & Jelly Babies at #GNR

Just over two weeks to go until the Great North Run. If you are running I hope your training is going well and you are looking forward to the day!

Last year I wanted to raise awareness of Giving Voice so I went along to the GNR wearing a Giving Voice t-shirt giving out Jelly Babies and oranges. I also had a giant Giving Voice poster with the aim to getting it shown on TV as the elite runners went past. I was successful with this aim albeit for a fraction of a second! Check out the blog from last year here.

I always enjoy supporting the runners as it’s nice to raise their morale as they are running. I could not have anticipated just how much more I would enjoy being on the side lines by giving out Jelly Babies and oranges. The runners seemed to really appreciate the gesture at the 11 mile mark and it gave them a little pick-me-up for the final stretch of the run.

I’m going to be set up on the left hand side just past the 11 mile mark (after The Nook in South Shields) as this is not far from my sister’s house. My brother-in-law is running for the North East Trust for Aphasia (NETA) this year and we will be there to cheer him on. If you would like to sponsor him you can do so here :-) any amount, however small will help make a difference to the amazing work of NETA, supporting people with communication difficulties following a stroke or other brain injury!

We have already bought lots of Jelly Babies and I wrote to Cadbury’s this week in the hope of maybe getting some more. I’ve also ordered some black t-shirts with the Giving Voice logo on for my sister, niece and me to wear on the day. We’ll also be buying lots of oranges to cut into quarters to give out with the Jelly Babies.

If you are running the GNR this year then look out for me and my sister around the 11 mile mark complete with Jelly Babies and oranges. I’m going to tweet this blog to everyone I know doing the GNR and hope they will help me to spread the word a little further!

I’ll be updating my blog after the day (and maybe we’ll even get a glimpse of us on TV again!)

Speech and Language Therapy Transforms Lives

Monday, 27 August 2012


On Wednesday 15th August I went to Edinburgh to see Lost Voice Guy at the Fringe. We went shopping in Edinburgh for the day before heading to the City Cafe to the comedy gig. I had my tickets booked for a while and was looking forward to seeing Lost Voice Guy again.
Adam Larter opened the night and introduced the first comedian Jeff Lantern - who was hilarious! I had not heard of Jeff Lantern before the gig but he was so brilliant that I would definitely like to see him again!

Jeff Lantern
Patrick Monahan was the MC and he came on before Lost Voice Guy. Lee’s mother was sat in front of us and Pat said as it was her first time at the fringe she had to crowd surf. He then spent a hilarious 5 minutes preparing this for a photo opportunity (with my camera!).
Crowd Surfing

Patrick Monahan

Lost Voice Guy then came on and was as brilliant as ever. The whole room were laughing out loud from start to finish.

Lost Voice Guy
At the end of the gig I got a photo of me with Lost Voice Guy and then with Patrick Monahan. I had a nice chat with Pat and gave him a new Giving Voice pen (which he used to sign his autograph!). My mam and I were wearing out Giving Voice badges and I told Patrick about the campaign and he said he liked our badges! J
Lost Voice Guy and me

My mam, Patrick Monahan and me (wearing our GV badges!)
I was excited to find that Paula Lane (actress – Kylie Platt from Coronation Street) retweeted my blog to more than 49,000 followers earlier this week. I tweeted Paula Lane as she is running the Great North Run and the blog entry she shared was about the Jelly Babies I will be giving out on the day. I will be updating my blog soon to share more information about what I will be doing at the GNR and will tweet this to everyone I know who is running this year, to hopefully spread the word a little bit further J
Retweet from Paula Lane

Speech and Language Therapy Transforms Lives

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Lost Voice Guy Headlines Again!

I was pleased to see a short piece printed in the News Post Leader this week about Lost Voice Guy at Ashington Football Club. This is also available online with a photo of Lost Voice Guy (see here). I’m looking forward to seeing Lost Voice Guy at the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh on Wednesday with Patrick Monahan as the MC J I’ll be taking some Giving Voice leaflets and pens  just in case there’s anyone I can give them to!
It’s just 5 weeks until the Great North Run and we’ve been buying Jelly Babies ready to give out to the runners on the day, (around the 11 mile mark). I will be going along wearing my Giving Voice t-shirt again like last year and we’ll also be giving out oranges. My sister wrote to South Shields and Boldon Asda’s to ask if they would donate any oranges for us to give out, but so far she hasn’t heard back. Check out my blog entry from the GNR last year (here)

The Jelly Babies we've bought so far :-)
My brother-in-law is running the GNR for NETA (North East Trust for Aphasia) and I’ll be there cheering him on. If you’d like to sponsor him you can do so here.
Speech and Language Therapy Transforms Lives

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Lost Voice Guy Gives Voice!

Seven weeks ago I could not have anticipated how someone suggesting having a pub quiz would turn into such a successful awareness and fund raising night. I honestly don't think it could have gone any better - thank you so much to everyone who helped to make it happen!
It was a hard slog selling tickets in the first few weeks as sales were slow, and I did begin to wonder if planning such an event had not been the best idea I’ve had. However, not one for being negative for too long, and being determined to make it work I continued to tell everyone I knew about the event.  As ticket sales began to increase and people spread the word my nerves began to turn into excitement in anticipation of the evening. Following Lost Voice Guy’s appearance on BBC Look North the week before the event also led to an increase in sales and I was very excited that it was almost a sell out on the night!
We were able to access the function room at 6pm on Thursday and we turned up with boxes full of Giving Voice things! We had pink and black balloons as well as GV ones and that all important helium to inflate them!  I love balloons and was looking forward to seeing them all blown up so I was most disappointed when we tried to use our brand new bottle of helium only to discover it was empty!  My mam rushed off to Asda to get the helium changed and I was most relieved when she returned with a new (full) bottle in hand (having got it changed no problem!)


Setting up
We set up a production line of cutting ribbon, inflating the balloons with helium, tying knots and attaching them to the (pink and black) weights, ready to decorate the tables.
We then set up the tombola and raffle prizes, and decorated the tables with Giving Voice leaflets, balloons, quiz sheets and pens! Whilst all this was happening The Undefined Group were doing a brilliant job of setting up the PA system and lighting.
Once the room was ready we just needed to wait for the comedians and the audience to arrive ready for our night of entertainment to begin!

Raffle Prizes
Wayne Madden from yradio opened the night before introducing me to talk briefly about Giving Voice and the North East Trust for Aphasia.  I was delighted to welcome Councillor Lesley Rickerby (Executive Member for Children and Young People) and the Mayor of Ashington (John McCormack) to the event who arrived right on cue just as I mentioned him in my opening speech!
Emily Wood opened the show followed by Andy Arrowsmith, both warming up the audience with plenty of laughter before our headline act - Lost Voice Guy!
Lost Voice Guy was without a doubt – phenomenal. I have never seen so many adults crying with laughter all at once! The crowd laughed from his first joke, through to his last and lots of people stood for him at the end of his set. Everyone thought he was hilarious and lots of people told me at the end of the night that their jaws were still aching from laughing so much! (If you haven’t already seen Lost Voice Guy and you get the chance, you’d be a fool to miss out!)

Lost Voice Guy on stage
Following the comedy we had an interval, where I took the opportunity to introduce some other Speech and Language Therapists to Lesley Rickerby and John McCormack.  They were both extremely interested in learning more about Speech and Language Therapy and Giving Voice, and Lesley Rickerby would like to follow this up with a meeting in September!  

We kicked off the second half of the night by calling out some ticket numbers and rewarding these people with some prizes (of a chocolate variety!)
I then introduced Liz Panton, Speech and Language Therapist, who performed ‘Giving Voice’ on her Ukulele. This is a brilliant song that she has written herself, as part of the Giving Voice campaign,  to talk about the variety of work SLTs do.

Liz Panton, SLT
We then moved onto our pub quiz: two rounds of general knowledge and a round loosely based on communication. Wayne then took us through the answers to the four rounds (including the pictures that we’d put on the tables) before handing over to me to make the closing speech for the night. The Mayor drew the raffle then kindly made a speech about what he learned on Thursday evening about Speech and Language Therapy and said he’s looking forward to the next one (!)
I then closed the night with Thank You’s and an announcement of the funds raised. Ashington Football Club kindly donated £50 and the winning quiz team donated their £25 prize, making the total raised on the night, for NETA, a brilliant £390!!
I am still absolutely delighted with how well the night went and how much everyone seemed to enjoy it. Thanks to Chris and Andy (The Undefined Group) for doing the lights and sound, Wayne Madden for being MC and Quiz Master, Mo for being on the door, Liz for her brilliant Uke performance, Annabel, Maureen and Paul for setting up and making the night run smoothly, the wonderful audience for buying tickets, Emily Wood and Andrew Arrowsmith for their comedy and of course... Lost Voice Guy for being the star of the night!

Councillor Lesley Rickerby, John McCormack (Mayor) and me
If you'd like to help raise further funds for the North East Trust for Aphasia, my fantastic brother-in-law Craig is running the Great North Run for them in September - any support you can give is much appreciated!

Speech and Language Therapy Transforms Lives

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Exciting! Exciting! Exciting!

Two days to go to until the talented Lost Voice Guy arrives in Ashington for our entertainment night!

Exciting! (1)

I am delighted that the Mayor of Ashington (John McCormack) emailed me today to accept an invitation to attend the event on Thursday. He will be wearing his Mayoral Chain and he has agreed to draw our raffle.

Exciting! (2)

I went shopping to Asda tonight and noticed that the community notice board has one of my posters on display advertising Thursday event! (I wrote to them last week asking them to display it on their staff notice board so I am thrilled that it’s on the community board for all of Ashington to see!)

Notice board in Ashington Asda


Exciting! (3)

Ticket sales have been going up nicely this week since Lee was on BBC Look North last week – (here’s the link
I look forward to blogging after the event on Thursday night.

Speech and Language Therapy Transforms Lives

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Final Preparations

Only 4 days to go until the Entertainment Evening at Ashington Football Club starring Lost Voice Guy! (Click here to find out how to get tickets!)
On Friday I bought pink and black balloon weights ready to decorate the room on Thursday night. I also have lots of Giving Voice leaflets and pens at the ready to hand out!
This weekend has consisted of sorting out the raffle and tombola and I am delighted to say that we have some lovely prizes. Local up and coming heavy metal band ‘Def Con One’ have donated a signed CD and t-shirt; a local fish and chip have donated a voucher for two meals; and local confectionary business (Sweet Tree Tops) have donated a sweet tree in Giving Voice colours! We also have lots of other lovely prizes to win on the night!

The interview I did with Wayne Madden at yradio is now online (listen here). Although, I don’t sound as confident on the interview as I would like I am delighted that the interview and information about Giving Voice is on their homepage (with a link to the GV website).
I’ll blog again after the event on Thursday, complete with photos from the night! Thanks for reading.

Speech and Language Therapy Transforms Lives

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Radio, Royal Mail and RSVPs!

Welcome to my 50th blog entry! I can't believe it's been a year since I started blogging!

Last Saturday I went along to yradio, North Shields, and was interviewed by Wayne Madden about Giving Voice and Speech and Language Therapy. This was also an opportunity to mention the entertainment night at Ashington Football Club on 2nd August.  (There are still tickets available if you are interested J Click Here) I’ll update my blog with the link once the interview is online J
At yradio with Wayne Madden
This week I’ve written to lots of local businesses with a flyer for the event, asking them to display it on their staff notice boards. I also included information about Giving Voice, along with a leaflet, spreading the message a little bit further.
Unfortunately Ian Lavery, MP and Councillor Ian Lindley have both responded to say they are on holiday on the night of the event. On a more positive note Ian Lindley (Executive Member for Adult Care and Well Being Northumberland County Council) asked me to keep him informed and to let him know how he can help :) I'm pleased this has opened a new line of communication and hope this is something we can build on in the future.
Speech and Language Therapy Transforms Lives

Friday, 6 July 2012

Bitz and Bobz

It’s a year this month since I started this blog and how the time has flown! It’s brilliant that the page views have exceeded 6000 in just under a year! This blog entry contains a few 'Bitz and Bobz' as it’s a little while since I’ve had the chance to sit down and update it!
My mam has been tweeting my blog to lots of celebrities and we were delighted that Jill Halfpenny recently retweeted it to over 13,000 followers!!

Jill Halfpenny retweet

I’ve been really busy over the last few weeks organising an Entertainment Evening to raise awareness of Giving Voice and to raise some money for the North East Trust for Aphasia ( I am very excited that we have been able to book Lost Voice Guy to be the star of the evening! ( The evening will start with some comedy, followed by a fun pub quiz (with a cash prize!) and there will be other activities on throughout the evening. The event is taking place at Ashington Football Club on Thursday 2nd August 7.30pm-10.30pm. If you are in the area and would like to come along please contact me for tickets (advance booking required). Tickets are £5 and this also gets you FREE entry into our pub quiz!! The facebook event can be found here for further information!/events/228609873926723/  
Wayne Madden (of YRadio) is our MC and quizmaster for the evening! He is also going to interview me ahead of the event for YRadio!! – I’ll share the interview on here once it goes online!
I wrote to Ian Lavery MP to invite him to the event but unfortunately he is unable to attend as he is on holiday at the time. I have also written to some of the Executive Council members who I thought might be interested, and I am currently awaiting a reply from them. I am going to contact local newspapers too so hopefully we’ll get some media coverage! Watch this space!
On another note about NETA, my fabulous brother-in-law is running the Great North Run for them again this year! I will be there on the side lines at the 11 mile mark to support him (wearing my Giving Voice t-shirt, armed with oranges and jelly babies once again!) I am also hoping I might get to see Patrick Monahan (and get another one of his famous hugs?!) as he is running the GNR too.  If you would like to you can sponsor my brother-in-law at
If you would like tickets to the Entertainment Evening in Ashington please contact me as soon as possible (through facebook, twitter (Pinkjules_16) or email A night not to be missed!

Speech and Language Therapy Transforms Lives

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Pink Ladies, T Birds and 'Him off the Viz'

This afternoon I went to see my niece perform in a short production of Grease at a Young Carer’s event in South Shields. Before the production began, brilliant comedian Simon Donald (Him off the Viz) was entertaining the audience. He was absolutely fantastic and had the audience roaring with laughter. I saw him at Hoochie Coochie, Newcastle a few weeks ago when I went to see Patrick Monahan and Lost Voice Guy and thought he was fantastic then. I didn’t know he was going to be at today’s event so it was a very pleasant surprise. It was lovely seeing a different style of comedy from him which had adults and children equally amused!

Simon entertaining the audience!

The production of Grease was great and my niece made a lovely Pink Lady! After the performance my niece and I got our photo taken with Simon Donald. I told him that I am a Newly Qualified Speech and Language Therapist campaigning with Giving Voice and I gave him a leaflet and a pen (always be prepared!). He seemed genuinely pleased that I’d given him a gift and then I asked him to sign a Giving Voice leaflet, with which he happily agreed.
Me, Simon Donald and Toni
A very exciting afternoon all round! If you want to check out his website it’s

Speech and Language Therapy Transforms Lives

Simon Donald's Autograph!