A former maths teacher from Suffolk who had undergone a stroke and struggled with aphasia is now raising awareness of the condition that affects 350,000 people across the UK. 

A father-of-three, Stephen Lightly, had to relearn how to speak, write, and work with numbers after a stroke in July 2020. 

The 62-year-old man from Bildeston suffers from aphasia, which causes difficulties with language and speech. 

Having limited speech after his stroke, the Suffolk man has managed to get back to some of his favourite hobbies, including producing maths worksheets for schools, and even recently creating a board game and children’s book. 

East Anglian Daily Times: Stephen Lightly and his wife, SuppliedStephen Lightly and his wife, Supplied (Image: Supplied)

Mr Lightly said: "My speech in hospital was terrible, although I thought that it was totally normal myself. 

"I would avoid contacting people directly and would try to use email. I soon became really aware of my speech, and it really knocked my confidence. 

"I knew I couldn’t return to work at the school any time soon, and that was really upsetting. 

"My speech improved through talking at home with my family, the help of the Stroke Association, and the people at Livability Icanho Brain Injury Rehabilitation Centre." 

Mr Lightly added that his youngest daughter, who is now nine, helped him get back to health.

He added: "I think that she was very deeply hurt by my stroke and near death.

"We are just beginning to do things together again, I guess that we are healing together." 

Now, Mr Lightly wants to help others understand more about what aphasia is and the impact it can have on those affected.   

The man is backing the Stroke Association’s campaign, which includes a launch of a documentary on Channel 4, showcasing brand-new research into stroke and aphasia. 

There are 1.3 million stroke survivors living in the UK, and about 40 % of patients will experience aphasia after their stroke.     

Almost half of people in the East of England have never heard of the condition, despite 350,000 people living with it nationwide.   

The documentary can be watched online here or streamed on Channel 4.