Suffolk charity couple die within 19 days of each other

Years of devoted service to the cause. Stella and Bill Jackaman retire from Headway West Suffolk bef

Years of devoted service to the cause. Stella and Bill Jackaman retire from Headway West Suffolk before it becomes part of Headway Suffolk Picture: HEADWAY SUFFOLK - Credit: Archant

An award-winning couple who launched a Suffolk charity to help people with brain injuries have died less than three weeks apart. They were both in their 90s.

Bill and Stella Jackaman, who had a joint funeral at West Suffolk Crematorium, won a national Headway UK award in 2014 for their outstanding contribution to the organisation.

Stella had been working on a head injuries ward in West Suffolk when her father died as a result of a brain injury suffered in a road accident. In 1985, she and husband Bill decided to put their understanding of head injuries to good use. With the help of friend Sheila Sturgeon the couple set up Headway West Suffolk.

In the autumn of 2014 the couple retired at the last AGM for Headway West Suffolk before it merged with Headway Ipswich and East Suffolk to form Headway Suffolk.

Then, Peter McCabe, chief executive of Headway, said: “For three decades, Bill and Stella have selflessly committed their time, energy and emotions to supporting hundreds of people and families affected by brain injury across Suffolk.

“It is impossible to summarise the extraordinary lengths to which Bill and Stella have gone to ensure the future of Headway West Suffolk, and it certainly seems suitable that their retirement should coincide with the landmark merger of the two Headway groups.”

The couple had been involved for more than 30 years, with Stella as manager and Bill as chairman. Stella was 92 when she died on December 26 last year, and Bill was 93 when he passed away on January 14.

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The couple – who lived at Onehouse, near Stowmarket – had a joint funeral at West Suffolk Crematorium on Monday.

The accolade the Jackamans won four years ago was the Stephen McAleese Outstanding Contribution to Headway Award. It was presented at a ceremony held at The Dorchester Hotel in London a few weeks before Christmas, 2014.

The annual event organised by Headway – the brain injury association – celebrates the inspirational achievements of survivors of brain injury and their carers in the face of adversity. It also honours the outstanding contributions individuals, such as the Suffolk couple, make to the charity.

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