Hartlepool taxi boss on the road to recovery

Staff from Streamline Taxis in Hartlepool walked from Peterlee to the firm's office in Tower Street to raise cash for the James Cook University Hospital to aid the treatment of a rare illness that affects Streamline MD Ray Tweddle, who did the journey with them in his wheelchair. Pictured, from left, are: Pam Dick, Emma Robinson, Mandy Wilson, Julie and Ray Tweddle, Victoria Wearmouth, Leanne Gaffney and Nichola Goddard.
Staff from Streamline Taxis in Hartlepool walked from Peterlee to the firm's office in Tower Street to raise cash for the James Cook University Hospital to aid the treatment of a rare illness that affects Streamline MD Ray Tweddle, who did the journey with them in his wheelchair. Pictured, from left, are: Pam Dick, Emma Robinson, Mandy Wilson, Julie and Ray Tweddle, Victoria Wearmouth, Leanne Gaffney and Nichola Goddard.

A BRAVE taxi boss proved he is on the road to recovery after he took part in a sponsored walk in aid of the hospital that nursed him back to health.

Hartlepool’s Streamline Taxis managing director Ray Tweddle thought his health was so uncertain that he married his partner in hospital after proposing while in intensive care.

Ray, known affectionately as Twed, spent almost seven months in James Cook University Hospital, in Middlesbrough, when he was suddenly struck down by Guillain-Barre syndrome.

The rare viral condition, which affects just 1,200 people a year in the UK, left him temporarily paralysed and Ray is currently unable to walk.

Despite his condition he joined caring colleagues to complete the last few hundred yards of the fundraiser, despite being confined to a wheelchair.

While recovering in hospital he married the love of his life, Julie, after proposing to her in intensive care in January.

Ray said: “We had been together for nine years and it just felt that was the best time to do it.

“I didn’t know what the future was.”

The happy couple tied the knot at James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough in April.

Colleagues from Streamline attended the wedding in the hospital chapel.

Julie said: “They pulled out all the stops for us.”
Ray, of the Fens, Hartlepool, joked: “They all got drunk and I went back to bed.”

Recalling when he was stuck down with the frightening condition in January, Ray said: “I just went home from work on a Friday night and felt a bit tired so I had an early night.

“The next morning I couldn’t walk. I was very concerned.”

Staff at the hospital slowly nursed him back to health while his movement slowly came back.

Ray hailed them as “out of this world”.

He is currently undergoing intensive physiotherapy to recover fully.

The symptoms of Guillain-Barre syndrome usually develop shortly after the victim has had a minor infection. In Ray it was a chest infection.

The condition results in the body’s immune system attacking part of the nervous system.

The 12-mile sponsored walk from Peterlee to Streamline’s offices in Tower Street, Hartlepool, raised over £1,000 for Ward 26.

Ray was determined to join the girls for the last leg from Clarence Road.

He added: “I would like to thank all the girls for doing the sponsored walk and for supporting me and my wife during my illness.

“I feel alright, I am just waiting for more physiotherapy on my legs.”

The girls, who did the walk in specially printed pyjamas, were company secretary Nichola Goddard, and controllers Leanne Gaffney, Emma Robinson, Mandy Wilson and Victoria Wearmouth, and Pam Dick.

Nichola said: “Everyone enjoyed doing it and we had a lot of support along the way from people.

“It has been a great achievement for us as a team.”