Leiston: Devoted carer wins national award

Devoted carer wins national award

A SUFFOLK woman who has devoted most of her life to caring for her brain-injured brother has won national recognition for her commitment.

Tracy Beckingham, 48, from Leiston, was presented with the Headway Carer of the Year award for giving round-the-clock care to her brother Darren, has lived with severe brain injury since being knocked off of his bike in 1986.

Aged 15, he spent ten weeks in hospital before being returned home to Ipswich, where his family assisted him in relearning the most basic of functions like swallowing.

Tracy was 21 when the accident happened, but she immediately dedicated her life to helping her mother look after Darren, feed him, bathe him, assist with his rehabilitation exercises, and give him with love and support.

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Tracy eventually moved out of the family home, and Darren now has help from care support workers, but she continues to visit each morning, despite living 30 miles away and working full time.

She also stays over one night a week to provide Darren with the round-the-clock care he requires, in addition to looking after him at the weekends, and allowing her mother Margaret.

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Tracy said: “I really didn’t think I would win. There were so many emotional stories of other people nominated.

“Looking after Darren is just normal for me. He has done a lot better than people thought he would and still goes to Headway.”

Tracy was presented with a certificate, silver salver and signed book by double Olympic gold medallist and vice president of brain injury association Headway, James Cracknell.

Peter McCabe, chief executive of Headway, said: “Tracy’s story has touched us all.

“The unwavering love and devotion she has shown in caring for her brother over the past 27 years is nothing short of inspirational.

“Tracy is a very special person who truly deserves the title Carer of the Year.”

The Headway Annual Awards celebrate the outstanding achievements and contributions of people with brain injuries and those working to support them.

Andrew Pearson, 47, from Kesgrave, who suffered a brain injury after falling at speed from his mountain bike in July 2008, was also nominated for Achiever of the Year.

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