A nurse from Solihull, who has suffered from a stammer for most of her life, has managed to overcome it in time to renew her wedding vows for her 25th anniversary.
Angie Allbones had to consume alcohol before saying 'I do' at her wedding to husband Nigel 24 years ago, so she wouldn't stammer and stutter her way through the vows.
But now, after signing up to a special programme to control her speech, the 45-year-old can say her vows confidently.
Medics believe the shock of losing her grandfather when she was five caused her to start stammering, and it affected all aspects of her life since. She was bullied at school by teachers more than other children.
I had to develop a huge thesaurus of words to substitute troublesome words. I couldn’t say T, D, G, K and hard C. My date of birth was frequently changed to a date I could say.
Angie even tried to change the date of her son Jim's delivery date.
I asked my obstetrician to let me go another day before my planned C-section so my son would be born on September 30, because the 29th was so hard to say.
She asked me why and I blubbered something about him being born on a Friday would be better – I sounded like a loon! He was delivered on September 29.
My kids were never 10 and 12, they were nine and 11, and 11 and 13 because I could say those words.
She also overpaid on buses many times, because she did not want to say 'daysaver' to the driver, and spent long periods of time looking for certain items at supermarkets that she struggled to say, rather than ask for help.
The turning point came when she called in sick to work, rather than have to give a presentation. She decided to get help from the McGuire programme, which looks at both the physical and psychological aspects of stammering, focusing on deep breathing.
I had come into some money from my nan’s will and saw an article about the McGuire programme. It was in 2005. I started the programme and it taught me a new way of breathing.
You use your diaphragm, like the way an opera singer does. It’s called costal breathing. I have now been able to perfect the technique so you can’t actually hear me doing it.
I wake up very early in the morning and warm up, practising my breathing so that I can get through the day without stammering.
I have never been a fluent speaker, but now I am eloquent. It does mean working on it every day though. Sometimes I will have to take a few minutes out in the middle of the day to exercise my breathing. It’s a bit like a sport.
I’m in control of my stammer now. I’m not ‘Ange with the stammer’, I’m just ‘Ange’.