Flower power: Michael opens his garden to raise money for stroke unit that treated him
07 April 2015
When flower expert and former estate agent, Michael Dedman, suffered two strokes early in 2014, he was so impressed with the pioneering treatment and recovery he made thanks to Southend University Hospital’s acute stroke unit, that he plans to hold a charity garden event to raise funds for both the unit and the Stroke Association.
Michael's Grade II listed house (not open to the public)
features a delightful 1-acre established walled garden and a bee
house. You can expect to see new agapanthus and hydrangea beds and
April is also ablaze with thousands of tulips and fritillaries.
Since retiring from the property business at the end of the 90s
Michael has remained a busy man in the community and wears many
hats including that of school governor, gardener, chairman of a
historic conservation group and now, due to suffering two strokes,
ambassador for stroke awareness and treatment. Michael is no
stranger to charity because his charitable work for the National
Garden Scheme (NGS) has raised in excess of £25k for various
Michael puts his strokes down to a combination of things: "I
think it was a bit of lifestyle and stress," he admits. "The
procedure I had at the hospital was only the second one ever
performed by the world renowned stroke surgeon, Professor Iris
Grunwald. There was no time wasted with the treatment I got and
people were looking after me 24 hours a day. I can only speak
highly of the stroke unit because all staff from all levels had
professionalism and commitment which was brilliant."
Southend University Hospital's dedicated stroke unit offers a
24-hour 'clot-busting' service and brain scans within 24 hours of
the stroke. This procedure dramatically increases chances of
recovery following an attack. The unit has emergency and
rehabilitation wards side-by-side, a purpose-built gym and a
patient information centre.
"When I went to the stroke ward I was treated with great
professionalism right from day one," Michael recalls. "The
evaluation included exhaustive hands-on short tests relating to
balance, eye sight; all the sorts of things that could be affected
by stroke. I was pleased because I had constant attention and I was
never left alone for a few minutes. This made me feel less
Basing their care plan on the National Clinical Guidelines for
stroke, Southend University Hospital offers a large team consisting
of many professionals specialising in stroke care including
occupational therapists, physiotherapists, speech and language
therapists, dietitians and stroke support workers.
"I was actually looking forward to the procedure because I was
told about it in advance which is important," confesses Michael. "I
had ten interested parties lined up looking at me and said 'it's
not often I have ten people looking at my groin' which got them all
laughing. All of the consultants named themselves and explained
what they do. All I can speak about is praise."
Twelve months on from his stroke and Michael feels stronger, is
back in the gym and still cracking jokes and keeping busy,
especially in his beloved garden. His recovery has been significant
and now he sees his passion for gardening as a major part of his
recovery and rehabilitation. "I love my garden and still do
gardening work. I think that's quite important because, as many
people say, gardening is a good therapy and I think that relates to
stroke recovery as well."
Michael will be hoping to raise a good sum of money for both
Southend University Hospital's stroke unit and the Stroke
Association when he opens his gardens to the public on Sunday 26
April. Tea, coffee and cake will be available and
representatives from both Southend Hospital and the Stroke
Association will be available to answer any questions or concerns
related to strokes and stroke treatment.
"Since I've had the stroke, the Stroke Association and Southend
University Hospital mean a lot to me. It's wonderful to see the
stroke team do well for me and for the Southend area. I think
Southend University Hospital has total excellence in many
disciplines and if it can grow a little more it's going to benefit
the people of South East Essex.
Michael's extensive garden will be open on Sunday 26
April from 2pm to 5pm at South Shoebury Hall, Church Road,
Shoebury, SS3 9DN. Entry fee is £3.50 and children go free. Tea,
coffee and cakes will also be available. Parking is available in
Church Road. 100% of the proceeds will be donated equally between
Southend University Hospital's Acute Stroke Unit and the Stroke