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Farewell, Jackie, the terrific supporter

PUBLISHED: 15:38 03 April 2008 | UPDATED: 10:47 03 July 2010

A COMMITTED worker who put “splendid effort” into her job...

Just one of the tributes paid to Jackie Soards as she retired from the Stroke Association on Monday.

A COMMITTED worker who put “splendid effort” into her job...

Just one of the tributes paid to Jackie Soards as she retired from the Stroke Association on Monday.

After heading up local stroke support for 21 years, more than 100 colleagues and service users gathered at Gorleston Golf Club to wish her well.

Jackie has helped many people who have suffered strokes to regain their confidence and improve communication.

There are support groups in Great Yarmouth, Lowestoft and Beccles, and

as well as managing these Jackie has set up an exercise scheme called Stroke Health Opportunity Programme (SHOP) and Sailability.

She said: “When I joined in 1987 it was a small organisation struggling to make its way in the world against all the other major charities. The Lowestoft support group was allegedly up and running, but at my first session “I had just one volunteer helping out with 50 stroke sufferers. I was charged with developing stroke support in a large area from Winterton to Blythburgh, including Halesworth and Beccles. The Lowestoft group flourished, and a Yarmouth group was set up in 1989. Later on we set up a Beccles group, which continues to meet fortnightly.

“I have so many good memories, particularly of the holidays and outings we have had. My most cherished memory is of the trip on the Lord Nelson, when the association chartered the boat. The boat was crewed by out members and we sailed to Belgium, then returned and spent the night in Yarmouth. We sailed to London and travelled up the Thames.”

Jackie thanked the many volunteers who work for the association including Gill Barford, who managed support groups when she was away.

Association regional manager Peter Rose described Jackie as a terrific worker who had been highly committed to her job.

Her replacement is Bridget Lowe, who has worked in the service for most of her career.

Jackie said she was looking forward to spending more time with her family, including husband Michael and children Alan and Avril.

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