The 'Singing in the Rain' Aphasia Chorus are holding their first ever concert on 25 November in Cuckfield, West Sussex. The chorus is the only one in the UK to be made up of stroke survivors left with aphasia (communication difficulty).

All of the people in the chorus are members of local Stroke Association communication support groups in the mid-Downs and Crawley area and have been singing together for almost a year.

They are led by local musician and nurse Lou Beckerman, who points out the amazing benefits to stroke survivors that struggle to communicate through speech yet can often do so more easily through song:

"It was found that people recovering from strokes who have communication difficulties surprised themselves by singing as another way for them to communicate. There's a part of the brain that holds the lyrics to songs meshed in with the melody which is a different part of the brain to where language is stored. We encourage them to try new things with their voice and increase their confidence at the same time."

Helen Simmonds, from The Stroke Association; originally set up the chorus says:

"We've had funding for this project for 12 months and we thought a nice way to end the year would be to put on a performance. I'm not aware of any other singing groups like ours in the country but would recommend it to other stroke support groups. The chorus has provided an enormous confidence boost to all of the members and we have seen some really encouraging signs in helping them improve their communication as a result of singing regularly."

The concert will take place from 10am until 12pm on 25 November at the Village Hall in Cuckfield. Admission is free but advanced notification of attendance is required by calling Helen Simmonds on 01444 248942.

About stroke

A stroke happens when the blood supply to part of the brain is disrupted. Most strokes occur when a blood clot blocks the flow of blood to the brain. Some strokes are caused by bleeding in or around the brain from a burst blood vessel. When the blood supply is disrupted, parts of the brain become damaged or destroyed. Some strokes are fatal whist others can cause permanent or temporary disabilities such as paralysis to one side of the body and loss of the ability to speak, read or write. Recovery may be slow and can vary from person to person.

Strokes can be prevented through lifestyle factors such as a healthy diet - particularly reducing salt intake, drinking alcohol in moderation, not smoking and taking regular exercise

Stroke statistics

- Each year an estimated 150,000 people in the UK have a stroke.
- Stroke is the second biggest killer and the leading cause of disability.
- Of all people who suffer from a stroke, about a third are likely to die within the first 10 days, about a third are likely to make a recovery within one month and about a third are likely to be left disabled and needing rehabilitation.
- At least 300,000 people in England are living with moderate to severe disabilities as a result of a stroke.
- A stroke can happen to any one at any time. Around a quarter of all strokes happen to those aged under 65, with around 500 a year happening to children and babies.

The Stroke Association

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