Stroke survivor Jim Baldwin still pursuing passion for writing despite disability

Jim Baldwin at work on another essay. Picture: Supplied by Peter Bird.

Jim Baldwin at work on another essay. Picture: Supplied by Peter Bird. - Credit: Archant

Fakenham stroke survivor, Jim Baldwin is refusing to let his disability stop him continuing to write, one of the passions that has occupied most of his adult life.

The stroke came out of the blue eleven months go and although he is physically recovering well, his speech is still minimal.

As a historian with eight books to his name, this has had a devastating effect on a man who, for many years, has played such a significant part in the life of the town.

This has been a tragedy for a man whose second main passion is music, having been part of the local music scene since the days of Lonnie Donegan and skiffle.

Physically his improvement has been remarkable but, as is the case with a third of all stroke survivors, the illness played havoc with his speech and all but the most basic words are still beyond him.

But his disability has not reduced his ability to communicate in other ways. With the benefit of modern technology, a laptop and a printer, he has spent the time researching and writing a number of short essays on aspects of the history of the area.

Most notably, the former RAF Sculthorpe air base, for many years a USAF airfield with the longest runway in Europe and an important part of NATO's defences during the Cold War.

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He has also produced perhaps his most important contribution since his stroke. He recalls his life as a musician in a just published book, My Years on the Music Scene.

It is priced at £3 and all profits go to the Friends of the Stroke Unit at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King's Lynn, who have helped him since his stroke.

It, and all his essays which can be downloaded free, can be ordered at

His life has included other low moments, including the unexplained death of his son, Mark, four years ago. But it also contains other passions such as his love of gardening. Because of his stroke he was unable to enter his chrysanthemums in the town's annual flower show last year. A friend entered them on his behalf.

One won best bloom in the show. 'How about that?' he typed delightedly on his laptop.