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.
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.