A STROKE caused him to crash his car and left him unable to speak.

But now Harold Conqueror, 81, dedicates himself to helping other stroke survivors in their recovery.

In 2004, Harold, from Romsey, was driving with his wife, Barbara when he had a stroke and crashed his car.

Harold described the terrifying moments when a stroke hit as he was behind the wheel and lost control of the vehicle.

“We were driving in Bristol and my son and his family were in the car behind,” he said.

“I remember having a strange feeling come over me – it’s really hard to explain, I felt in control but something just wasn’t right.

“My driving soon became erratic, and as Barbara was asking me if I was ok I couldn’t respond.

“My foot was pressed down on the escalator, and Barbara got increasingly worried.

“She managed to grab the steering wheel and take us off the road.

“We went into a grass verge and the car flipped on its side.

“My son and other local residents who saw the crash managed to pull my wife out of the car first, and then they were able to get to me.

“When the paramedics arrived they confirmed I’d had a stroke straight away and Barbara had broken her collarbone in the accident.

“We were both rushed to hospital.”

The stroke left Harold with a speech condition called aphasia.

“For the first couple of weeks I struggled to speak, but I felt determined to get better,” said Harold.

“I was so focussed on speaking again, I knew I could do it.

“After I left hospital I joined the Totton Stroke Association Voluntary Group to get support with my speech.

“Recovery doesn’t just happen overnight, and without the Stroke Association’s group I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to practice and improve my speech” he said.

Harold is now using his own experiences to help other stroke survivors.

He said: “When you have aphasia, it’s so important to keep speaking as much as you can, to practice conversation. The Totton Stroke Association Voluntary Group gives you a chance to meet other stroke survivors, and join in on a conversation.”

The group meets at Totton and Eling Community Centre on Wednesdays at 1.30pm.