Suffolk: Brave pair up for national accolade

Dedication to be recognised at awards

Two Suffolk people have defied the odds to be named as finalists in a national awards scheme for the way they have used their own experiences of brain injury to help others.

Tracy Beckingham, 48, from Leiston, has been named a finalist in the Carer of the Year category in the annual awards run by Headway while Andrew Pearson, from Kesgrave, is competing for Achiever of the Year.

Tracy’s brother, Darren, was knocked off his bike in 1986 aged 15 and suffered a severe brain injury. The family was told he would never walk or talk again.

Darren spent weeks in hospital and required round-the-clock care before returning home where he had to relearn basic functions. Tracy has since dedicated her life to looking after her brother while working full-time.

She said: “I didn’t expect to be nomination for the Headway Annual Awards. I don’t expect recognition for caring for Darren – I do it because he’s my brother and I love him.”

Andrew, 47, suffered a brain injury after falling at speed from his mountain bike in July 2008.

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He was taken to hospital where a CT scan revealed he had bruised his brain. Andrew remained in hospital for a few days before returning home but it soon became apparent that all was not well.

He said: “Eventually, I was referred to a neurologist for extra tests, which showed that as well as suffering frontal lobe damage, I’d also damaged nerves in my brain when it had moved at great speed inside my skull.”

Andrew said Headway really helped him recover and learn relaxation techniques. He has since raised more than �3,000 for the charity.

The awards will be presented in London on December 7.

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