Otley family’s gift helps stroke victims on road to recovery

Charlie Connolly, left, Ilkley Carnival committee member Colin Watson and Ilkley Stroke Club organiser Joan Lawrence

Charlie Connolly, left, Ilkley Carnival committee member Colin Watson and Ilkley Stroke Club organiser Joan Lawrence

First published in Local news Ilkley Gazette: Photograph of the Author by

A family from Otley have made a stroke club’s wish for a Wii come true following a plea from Ilkley Carnival.

Sean Connolly, 17, and Charlie Connolly, 16, offered their Nintendo Wii after their mother, Julie, saw the appeal on the Ilkley Carnival Twitter feed last week.

“As soon as I saw the tweet saying the hunt was on for a donated Nintendo Wii for Ilkley Stroke Club, I spoke to Charlie and Sean and they said immediately they’d like to offer theirs. They are so busy with their GCSEs, A-levels, theatre groups and sports that it just doesn’t get used,” said Julie.

“We’ve had friends and family affected by strokes and know the profound effect it can have on individuals and their families.

“We couldn’t think of a better use for our Wii than to help with the rehabilitation of stroke sufferers.

“I’m sure there are more forgotten and unused Wiis out there that could help other people simply by being donated to Ilkley Stroke Club and we’d encourage other local families to consider whether theirs could be put to better use,” she added.

Ilkley Stroke Club organiser Joan Lawrence said: “For three decades we have supported anyone who has experienced a stroke and our numbers vary between ten and 20. Members are currently from Ilkley, Burley, Otley and Silsden and disabilities range from severe physical impairment to complete loss of speech.

“Two of our members in their forties spoke recently about the benefits they’d experienced from using a Wii to develop their hand-eye co-ordination and balance.

“One had been using the club’s only Wii in his own home and the other has now started his own business, despite suffering a massive stroke. The more Wiis we have the more we can encourage other members to feel the benefits.”

She added: “Sean and Charlie’s donation is not only a wonderful gesture but will genuinely help more stroke sufferers with essential therapy which has been shown to speed up their recovery.

“We can’t thank the family enough for acting so selflessly and making such a valuable contribution to the service our local stroke club can offer by lending out the Wiis for members to use in their own homes for two or three months.”

All profits raised from Ilkley Carnival on Monday, May 5, will be shared among local charities and organisations.

LS29 Special Needs Support Group is this year’s primary beneficiary and will receive half of the profits while groups such as the stroke club will receive a share of the remaining funds to help towards ongoing work.

Carnival committee member Colin Watson added: “This real act of kindness demonstrates how Ilkley Carnival is far more than a one-day event. It’s about ongoing community engagement and working together to make a difference to our local area and the people living in it. We’re very thankful to the Connolly family for such a fast response to our tweet and are delighted that there is a positive result for Ilkley Stroke Club.”

For further information about how you can support, sponsor or become involved with Ilkley Carnival, contact chairman Andrew Stacey on 07951 890836 or log on to ilkleycarnival.org.

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