How prize winner Barbara refused to let mystery illness beat her; Welsh learning award for former teacher after sickness shock.Byline: James McCarthy
BRAVE Barbara Scourfield's life lay in tatters tat·ter 1
1. A torn and hanging piece of cloth; a shred.
2. tatters Torn and ragged clothing; rags.
tr. & intr.v. when she was struck down by a mystery brain illness in 2003.
Just two years before she had started a new job as a communications and IT teacher at Cardiff's Coleg Glan Hafren Coleg Glan Hafren''' is a Further Education college based in Cardiff. The college has over 12,000 students and provides over 800 courses, including Business Studies, Media Studies, Sociology, History and Law. and was having the time of her life. She enjoyed squash, horse riding and walking.
Then one day she collapsed at work and her life was turned upside down.
Suddenly she had severe speech difficulties.
Her left side was paralysed and her memory became poor - symptoms similar to stroke. Her new teaching career was ruined.
But the 54-year-old refused to let her illness beat her and last week the mum of one was awarded a Welsh learner of the year prize by NIACE NIACE National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (UK) , the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education.
Chatting at her home in The Mount, Dinas Powys, the former professional squash player said: "I feel honoured but a bit embarrassed. You don't think of your health as being anything special.
It was fun and terrifying at the same time. To go up on the stage and to hear and see myself on the film (we had made for the ceremony)...
"While I know that there is hesitancy in my speech, I don't dwell on it, so hearing myself was uncomfortable." Despite "thousands" of tests, doctors have not been able to pinpoint what happened to Barbara.
She still finds it painful thinking back to before she fell sick and has to leave notes around the house reminding her of things that need to be done.
"It is like a bereavement Bereavement Definition
Bereavement refers to the period of mourning and grief following the death of a beloved person or animal. The English word bereavement ." she said.
"You have got the anger and anguish and frustration. One ends up not wanting to look back." What happened to Barbara was a double blow. In 2000 her husband Paul, a former rugby player and captain of Wales' pistol shooting team, was left in a wheelchair after being told he needed both hips replaced. He is now back on his feet but needs a stick.
Barbara's teacher, Anna Tiplady, nominated her for her prize. Former BBC BBC
in full British Broadcasting Corp.
Publicly financed broadcasting system in Britain. A private company at its founding in 1922, it was replaced by a public corporation under royal charter in 1927. newsreader A client program that is used to read messages from Internet-based discussion groups (the venerable Usenet) or syndication feeds such as RSS and Atom. Some programs provide a search and organization tool for both newsgroups and feeds as well as local e-mail messages, contacts and other Sara Edwards and former Wales rugby international Nigel Walker presented her with a certificate at Bangor University last week.
Ms Tiplady said: "Barbara had many obstacles. First she had to learn to speak again because a few years ago she could hardly speak at all. So she had to learn to start speaking English again before learning Welsh. And she had the barrier of speech difficulty and problems with memory retention.
"What she has achieved is outstanding.
Her story is inspirational." Barbara now hopes to take her Welsh to the next level.
And she doesn't want to spend her days dwelling on what happened.
She said: "If you go down the 'why' route there is no answer and you become angry and frustrated and you get depressed.
"If you go down the 'if only' road then there is no answer.
"You cope. You just do what you can."Barbara had many obstacles. She had to learn to start speaking English again before learning Welsh. Her story is inspirational
Former teacher Barbara Scourfield has fought off a mystery brain illness to win a Welsh-learner-of-the-year prize