Headway Hertfordshire - supporting people affected by brain injury

Peter Holgate's Story

Peter's dream: to walk his daughter down the aisle.

'I don't remember anything about my car smash. It was in
2011. I was 55 then and known to be a very steady driver,
but apparently I hit black ice and then there is nothing you
can do. No other car was involved but I hit a tree and the
police said later that when they arrived at the scene and saw
the car they didn't expect me to be alive.'

Months after his road traffic accident which left him with
brain injury, Peter set himself three objectives. 'I had been
an electrical engineer and taught engineering in schools so I
was used to setting targets,' he said.

The first was being able to stand upright to pee on my own.
'It took me months to do that,' he said. ‘The second was to
walk the length of my garden, because I had to learn to walk
again and the third was to walk my daughter down the aisle
on her wedding day. I'm happy to say I have done both.’

Problems still beset Peter. 'My main problem now is that the
processing of my brain is slow. So I speak and do things
much slower and that can be frustrating. All the information I
receive either visibly or audibly my brain finds it difficult to
process. My reflexes are poor.

'I'm worried sometimes that I may be taking up too much of
my wife June's time, that I am some kind of obstruction, but
of course she tells me not to think like that.'

At Headway Peter found new friends who understand
everything he is going through. He has completed the
Headway HABIT rehab programme and is now a Headway
Hertfordshire volunteer.

Peter was one of the first to do Headway's CogMed
computer-based programme which is designed to improve
memory and the cognitive performance of the brain. It uses
word association and maths to stimulate the brain and
significantly enhance outcomes. 'It was just amazing,' Peter
said. 'I can't speak too highly of it.'