Two couples from Norfolk, who are fighting back after debilitating strokes, have received awards for their courage.

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Jim Cooper, from Attleborough, who had a life-changing stroke three years ago, and his wife Tracey, who has been his main carer, both received regional Life After Stroke awards from the Stroke Association last week.

Rik Thornton from Wereham, near Downham Market, was also honoured by the charity for the vital role he plays in caring for his wife Vik after she suffered a stroke in 2011.

The Lowestoft Stroke Association Voluntary Support Group, which meets in St Margaret’s Church Hall, was also awarded a special award for best support for stroke survivors in the Regional Life After Stroke awards at a ceremony at Great Barton Village Hall, near Bury St Edmunds, on Friday.

When Mr Cooper suffered a stroke at the age of 48 in 2010, he could not walk, speak at all and had difficulty swallowing. After three years, he can now walk and talk but does forget words or say the wrong words. When the stroke struck, his wife immediately put her own life on hold to care for her husband and family.

Mr Cooper’s sister Patricia Earle, who nominated them, said: “Without a doubt Jim would not have made the recovery he has without the caring support of Tracey. She never ever gave up on him and fought hard both in person and by letter and email to get him the best possible follow up care and rehabilitation.”

Mr and Mrs Thornton’s lives were turned upside down when she had a stroke in May 2011 at the age of 38. Vik’s stroke was caused by an unknown congenital heart defect, during surgery after a miscarriage.

Mr Thornton gave up his job as a plant operator, to become a full time carer for his wife. He supports her physically and emotionally helping her every day with washing, dressing and eating, as well as encouraging her to take part in activities and make the most of their lives together.

Gemma Smith, communication support coordinator, who nominated Mr Thornton, said: “Rik’s a lovely caring person and his devotion to his wife is obvious He always puts her needs first and ensures they live as active and full a life as possible. He is a wonderful husband and carer and all who meet him are humbled by his immensely positive attitude to the huge change in their lives.”

The nominations for the 2014 Life After Stroke Awards are now open. Visit for more information.

Have you got a health story? Contact Adam Gretton on 01603 772419 or email






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