Helen Taylor

Graduating with a diploma in business with languages, Helen began her career in France as an interpreter for a European satellite organisation. On her return to the UK she continued translation work combined with marketing and business development in a start-up aerospace engineering company, growing the business significantly from a UK-only to an international player selling high-value, precision aero-engine machinery globally.

Currently Helen is PA to Professor Marion Walker MBE, Professor in Stroke Rehabilitation and Associate Pro Vice Chancellor for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. Helen is a strong advocate of patient partnership. She is a member of the Nottingham Stroke Research Partnership Group (atastroke). The Group reviews stroke research proposals, ensuring the voice of stroke survivors and carers contributes to research objectives. Helen worked closely with Ossie Newell MBE, the University’s Stroke Ambassador and original founder/Chair of the Group, and continues managing the administration of the Group with the new Chairs. Latterly she assisted Ossie in registering the Ossie Newell Foundation Trust as a charitable organisation and in October 2016 became a Trustee.

Helen was personally affected by stroke when her mother suffered a stroke in 2001, an event that had an impact on the whole family. Helen explored all sorts of services and therapies to help the complex needs that resulted from her Mum’s stroke and give her the best opportunity of recovery and continued wellbeing.

Helen’s skills span PR, Events Management, Marketing, Sales, Business Development, Fundraising, Income Generation, Alumni Relations across a broad range of sectors such as higher education, aerospace, pharmaceuticals, telecommunications, engineering & leisure industries.

Helen previously had strategic responsibility for fundraising, income generation and marketing as Development Director at St John's College Nottingham, building relationships with major donors. Helen was instrumental in establishing new training programmes, a local nursery for students and the local community and the initiation of a state-of-the-art Learning Resource Centre (£2m). At Nottingham Council for Voluntary Service, Helen was successful in applying for European funding (ERDF), East Midlands Development Agency (EMDA) and Big Lottery funding to support local third sector community activities. She also led the establishment of new social enterprise, Purple Zebra, to provide affordable IT support for community groups across the East Midlands.

Helen is an Impact Campaign Ambassador for the University of Nottingham and has made a significant personal contribution to partnership and community initiatives by being involved in the Life Cycle fundraising campaigns, personally raising over £8000 for stroke, dementia and breast cancer research.

Helen’s story

My Mum, Vesta Taylor, had a stroke in 2001, so I have witnessed and gained insight into the devastating impact a stroke has on not only the stroke patient, but family and friends. Mum was an inspiration, and remained cheerful and resilient even though she was struck down by such a life-changing event. She loved writing and when her right side was weakened by her stroke, I so missed her weekly letters arriving on my doormat. Her stroke had robbed her of one of her most treasured hobbies. Finally, she lost her power of speech so we could no longer talk to each other over the phone. My last communication bond with her across the miles had been cut off. But still she coped admirably with every challenge; one thing she never lost was her trademark smile.

Mum’s gradual decline was really heartbreaking for Dad and the whole family. Vesta finally gave up her struggle in April 2011.

Stroke changes lives - Every year an estimated 150,000 people in the UK have a stroke. That's one person every five minutes. Most people affected are over 65, but anyone can have a stroke, including children and even babies. There are a range of longer term problems that continue to face the stroke patient after they have left hospital including: depression, fatigue, visual impairment, speech problems, physical weakness or paralysis, seizures or cognitive problems.

This is why I jumped at the opportunity when asked to be a Trustee of the Ossie Newell Foundation. I feel this is such a worthwhile cause. Although I can no longer help my Mum, I want to do all I can to improve the lives of stroke survivors and their families.

When Ossie asked me to become a Trustee of ONF, I grasped the opportunity with both hands. I’m doing this in memory of Vesta and the thousands of people facing similar challenges.

Stroke research has brought so many improvements for stroke survivors in the last 20 years. The Ossie Newell Foundation fellowships will train the stroke research leaders of the future.

Any one of us may be affected by stroke now or in years to come. Together let’s help improve the lives of stroke survivors and their families.


  1. Introduction from Professor David Greenaway
  2. Working with Ossie - Professor Marion Walker MBE

David Greenaway

Introduction from Professor Sir David Greenaway, former Vice-Chancellor, University of Nottingham

It is my great pleasure to provide an introduction to the Ossie Newell Foundation. Ossie has made a unique contribution to stroke care at local and national level, where he has been a persistent and loyal advocate.

After a distinguished career in construction services and electronics Ossie was not ready for a quiet life of retirement and embarked on an Open University course in Nottingham to obtain a Bachelors of Arts Degree with Honours. As he was completing his final thesis in 1999, at the age of 64, he sadly suffered a stroke.

Ossie’s stroke was devastating in its severity, making him totally dependent on help to walk and requiring full assistance with all daily needs, including washing and dressing. As you may have predicted he tackled this life challenge with the same tenacity he had applied in his sporting and professional careers. Despite his dogged determination it took Ossie nearly two years to achieve a good recovery enabling him to walk, dress and write independently and nearly seven years to regain his ability to draw which has been a life-long pastime.

As Ossie battled with his own personal recovery he realised he had to make a contribution to the lives of others in similar situations to himself. He then embarked on his second career as key advocate for stroke survivors and passionate campaigner. A year after his stroke Ossie founded the Nottingham patient group @astroke which gave support and information to fellow stroke survivors and their families. As his health recovered his input was increasingly sought from many organisations that recognised his unique contribution in driving improvements in stroke services in the East Midlands and nationally.

Ossie has sat on the Board of the Nottingham Queen’s Medical Centre NHS Trust and National Stroke Management Board at the Department of Health. He has also been a member of the East Midlands Cardiac and Stroke Board and chaired the East Midlands Stroke Network Patient Partnership Board. He has spoken at multiple national stroke conferences and delivered impassioned speeches in the House of Commons. His voice is greatly respected at all levels throughout the stroke community and has made a significant contribution to the delivery of better stroke services in the UK.

Over the last decade Ossie has developed an enduring relationship with the University of Nottingham. Until recently he was a co-chair of the Nottingham Stroke Research Consumer Group. This works in partnership with academics at the University and ensures the research undertaken is of importance to those living with stroke, that the timing of the research is appropriate, and that the outcome measures of success are those important to stroke survivors. I can assure you he and his fellow stroke survivors are not shy in telling us when our research falls short!

In recognition of Ossie’s selfless commitment to improving the lives of stroke survivors and for his service to stroke care in the UK, he was appointed MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in 2009. He has also been awarded a Commemorative Medal from Stroke Alliance for Europe (SAFE) in recognition of his dedicated work as a media volunteer for stroke.

I could list many more achievements but, it would be remiss of me not to note that his dedication to improving life after stroke and enhancing the services provided to stroke survivors would have been unachievable had it not been for the support and love of his wife Olive and children Louise, Helen and David. Their sacrifice has been our gain.

The Ossie Newell Foundation will provide a fitting and lasting legacy in supporting PhD students pursuing stroke rehabilitation in their studies to improve the lives of stroke survivors in the future.

Professor Sir David Greenaway
Vice-Chancellor, The University of Nottingham

Marian WalkerShortly after retiring from an outstanding career managing 17 engineering companies worldwide, Ossie suffered a major stroke at the age of 64. This had a profound impact on his ability to walk, talk and manage the simplest of daily tasks such as washing, dressing and feeding. Through sheer determination and hard work Ossie recovered sufficiently to enable him to lead a full, but different life, to the one he had known previously.
For those individuals privileged to know Ossie, they will be aware that he has a huge sense of civic duty and an aptitude for work that knows no bounds. With a real desire to give something back for the care and support he received during his recovery, Ossie embarked on his second career as an advocate for fellow stroke survivors and passionate campaigner for the delivery of the best stroke care possible. A year after his stroke Ossie founded the Nottingham patient group @astroke which gave support and information to fellow stroke survivors and their families. As his health recovered his input was increasingly sought from many organisations that recognised his unique contribution in driving improvements in stroke services both in the East Midlands and at a national level. Through unwavering support and dedication, Ossie as ambassador for his fellow stroke survivors, has become greatly respected at all levels throughout the stroke community. He is recognised for having made a major contribution to the delivery of better stroke services in Nottingham, and across the UK.

Over the last decade I have worked very closely with Ossie to ensure that stroke research at the University of Nottingham has the critical voice of stroke survivors and their families firmly embedded in all our work. I can honestly say this partnership has been one of the most productive and enjoyable of my career. He is a joy to work with and his compassion for fellow stroke survivors and their families is truly humbling. Our joint belief that the research done today will impact on the lives of those with stroke tomorrow has been the impetus for the Ossie Newell Foundation and will be his legacy for years to come. Ossie’s sole mission is simply to make the lives of those unfortunate to have experienced stroke a better and more fulfilling one.

Ossie is a truly inspirational man who through his own adversity has given so much to the field of stroke care and stroke research. It has been an honour to work with him over the years and I feel privileged to act as a Trustee of the Ossie Newell Foundation.

Professor Marion Walker MBE
Professor of Stroke Rehabilitation & Associate Pro Vice-Chancellor Equality, Diversity and Inclusion