STAFFORD'S stroke club is celebrating its 35th anniversary and is launching a £35,000 fund-raising campaign to mark the milestone.
Volunteers who run the Stafford and District Club want to raise the cash to buy a minibus so they can provide more help to those in need.
And they are urging people, businesses and anyone interested in donating to get behind the fund-raising campaign.
The group, which has 28 members, is run with the help of 14 volunteers each Tuesday morning at Thirlmere Way Day Centre.
It provides them with a chance to talk to others in a similar situation, take part in quizzes and games and do activities such as painting and making cards, as well as enjoying lunch and days out.
Lew Badger, 67, a former marathon runner who ran more than 100 marathons and was awarded the British Empire Medal in last year's Queen's New Years Honours list, is a member of the group after suffering a stroke four years ago.
The Brocton resident told the Newsletter: "Coming here gives me a chance to socialise and I enjoy doing the quiz and singing a few songs.
"It also gives my wife Lesley a break.
"The stroke had a huge effect on my life. I was used to running 60 or 70 miles per week but there are always people who are worse off than you. It affected my left side and as I'm left-handed I've had to adjust to writing with the other hand
"I would urge people to get behind the appeal."
Chairman Geoff Brookes said they were busy writing to businesses to ask for help. They are also planning a celebration day on May 31 at Stafford Rangers Football Club and urging people to go along.
"We want to raise £1,000 for every year to purchase our own adapted minibus," he said.
"Currently we need around £8-10,000 to run each year which includes transport, venue hire, insurances, meals, physiotherapy and first aid training and if we can achieve our aim it will help greatly reduce these annual costs.
"The club has some great members and a fantastic team of volunteers."
Caroline Holmes, 45, of Penk Vale Road, is the youngest member of the group and has been going for three years.
She said: "It is once a week and gets me out of the house. It allows me to have some company."
Ray Glover said, 76, of Rising Brook, said: "I love to come and chat to Lew as we're both Wolves fans.
"It's good to be able to meet people who have similar problems. I had to learn to walk and talk again."
Beryl Hollinshead, 80, who lives in Ranton, said the group had provided support since her husband died suddenly last year.
Donations can be made by calling the club chairman Geoff Brookes on 01785 245159/07974 841894.
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