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Pub landlady tells of life-changing battle to overcome stammer
A PUB landlady has told how her life was transformed when she learned to deal with the stammer she had struggled to hide.
Lorraine Smallwood, 53, used to go to great lengths to conceal her stammer – even from her future husband.
Now she is holding an open day at her pub for the McGuire Programme, which she credits with transforming her life.
She said she had been a “covert stammerer” for many years and had been put off a career in social work because of the communication required.
“You spend every waking moment thinking about how you can avoid words that you know you’re going to stammer on,” she said.
“At school, for me to read in class was always a nightmare.”
“I probably stammered worse with people who were close to me. I could normally speak to strangers,” she said.
Lorraine did a McGuire Programme course in Bournemouth in 2007. The programme’s alumni include pop star Gareth Gates.
She was working part-time behind the bar at the Augustus John in Fordingbridge at the time and was a clinical audit facilitator in the NHS.
She said she would not have had the confidence to become licensee before she learned to control the stammer.
The divorced 53-year-old mum-of-three still practices the course’s techniques.
The programme is famous for getting people to stand on a soapbox and speak to strangers at the end of the coaching.
“I wasn’t going to do it but when the time comes and you’re actually there, you want to get up. You want to tell the world how good you’re feeling and how much control you’ve got,” said Lorraine.
An open day is held on Saturday, October 19, 11am to 1pm at the August John pub, Station Road, Fordingbridge. For details call Matt Wilton on 07838 172768 or visit mcguireprogramme.com
A course is run on Bournemouth from November 20-24.
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