Suffolk carers named as finalists for their hard work

Bill and Stella Jackaman

Bill and Stella Jackaman - Credit: Archant

Three dedicated carers from Suffolk have been named as finalists in a national awards recognising committed care.

Maria Knights, 49, from Ipswich, has been nominated for Carer of the Year in the awards held by Headway, the brain injury charity, for her work in caring for her son.

Bill Jackaman, 80, and his wife, Stella, 88, both from Stowmarket, have been jointly nominated for the Stephen McAleese Outstanding Contribution to Headway award, for their 30-year service to the Suffolk branch of the charity.

Ms Knights has been recognised for the 24-hour care she gave her son, Kyle, after he was knocked off his scooter, and sustained serious brain injuries as a result.

With her dedicated care following Kyle’s discharge from hospital after a five-month coma, Ms Knights helped her son battle against the odds, and turn some of his muscle reflexes into deliberate movements, allowing him to kick a football once again with his brother, Yeovil Town player Darrell Knights.

She said: “It was certainly quite special to discover I had been named as a finalist – I was very moved. It feels strange to be praised for something you do naturally, but it has been a hard slog for the whole time since the accident. I simply would not have been able to do it without the support of my family and Headway.”

Stella Jackaman began her career working with head injury patients at West Suffolk Hospital after her father was involved in an accident, and in 1985 launched a support group committed to helping individuals suffering from brain injuries.

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Since the early 1990s the couple established a permanent Headway House in Bury St Edmunds which is still going today, and have been heavily involved in management and organisational roles, as well as helping at fundraiser events.

Mr Jackaman said: “Stella and I both feel incredibly honoured to be nominated for such a prestigious award.

“We have received local recognition for our work with the charity, but never have we been commended on such a large scale.”

The awards take place on December 5, at the Dorchester Hotel in London.