We are incredibly fortunate to have David Tennant, the former star of ‘Dr Who’ as Patron of Headway Essex.
David worked closely with Headway Essex in 2006 when researching for a character in a forthcoming television drama. In 2007 he played the role of somebody who acquired a brain injury in a 90 minute BBC1 drama entitled ‘Recovery’. He visited the day care centre of Headway Essex as a major part of his research for the programme, in which he played a building site manager who suffers a debilitating brain injury in a car crash.
Joanna Wright, Chief Executive Officer of Headway Essex, said:
“David spent a considerable time at our day centre and took part in group sessions with our attenders which looked at interpersonal skills and communication issues. These also explored the changes that the survivors of brain injury had experienced in their lives, including the huge impact the injury had on their relationships. I think that David was very touched by the honesty of our clients and he developed a great understanding of the change in dynamics which occur with individuals and their families after brain injury, along with an empathy for the challenges they face.”
David Tennant said:
“When I came to play an accident victim in Tony Marchant’s TV play I had to confess that my knowledge and understanding of brain injuries and the devastating effect they can have on people’s lives was shamefully slight.
Getting to know some of the clients of Headway Essex was instructive, eye-opening and very moving. These are people coming to terms with lives that have changed beyond all recognition. Having to deal with something society often misunderstands, misinterprets and mistrusts. As I understood more about the condition I understood how vital the work that Headway is doing can be. They give understanding, experience and community to people struggling to rebuild their lives.
Against all odds, the spirit and humour of the clients at Headway Essex was remarkable. Spending that time with them and experiencing at first hand the wonderful work the staff and charity are doing, I felt I wanted to be involved. I was delighted to accept the position of Patron of Headway Essex and look forward to helping out when and where I can.”
In his first words as Patron, David wrote how “my visit was a truly humbling and powerful experience and why the work of Headway Essex was so important to everyone affected by brain injury”.
Over a decade on, he says “those words still ring loud and true. Maybe even more so”.