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Suffolk stalwarts win national award

Fri 05 Dec 2014

A couple who dedicated 30 years of of their lives to supporting local people affected by brain injury have won a national award.

Bill and Stella Jackaman, from Stowmarket, West Suffolk, jointly won the prestigious Stephen McAleese Outstanding Contribution to Headway Award, which was presented at an awards ceremony held at The Dorchester Hotel in London, on Friday 5 December.

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, as well as the outstanding contributions individuals have made to the charity.

Bill Jackaman, 89, and his wife, Stella, 88, were recognised for setting-up and committing more than 30 years to running Bury-based Headway West Suffolk, part of the national charity Headway, which supports people affected by brain injury. Earlier this year, the group merged with another local Headway charity to form Headway Suffolk, enabling the couple to finally step down from their charitable activities.

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.

"We are immensely grateful to both of them for their truly outstanding contribution to Headway."

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

Stella became manager and Bill was later elected Chairman of the group. Even when Stella retired from her role as manager nine years ago, she became a key advisor as President of the charity.

In October, the couple formally retired at the last ever AGM for Headway West Suffolk before it merged with Headway Ipswich and East Suffolk to form Headway Suffolk.

However, the charity stalwarts are both still members of the new-look Headway Suffolk group, and they intend to keep joining in with the charity's activities for as long as their health will allow.


The Headway Annual Awards celebrate the exceptional efforts of survivors of brain injury and those caring for them. Other winners who were recognised at The Dorchester Hotel included Sarah Whitchurch, from Guernsey (Achiever of the Year), Terisha Burge, from Bath (Volunteer of the Year), and Gwen and Natalie Milham, from Lewes (Carer of the Year).

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Headway - the brain injury association is registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales (Charity no. 1025852) and the Office of the Scottish Regulator (Charity no. SC 039992). Headway is a company limited by guarantee, registered in England no. 2346893.

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