Inspirational paramedic who overcame stammer nominated for Pride of Hartlepool award

John O'Neill
John O'Neill

AN inspirational paramedic has overcome his stammer to succeed - and now his determination has put him in the running for an award.

John O’Neill, 37, suffered from a crippling stammer since being child but he was determined not to let it get in his way.

And when the opportunity to land his dream job of becoming a paramedic came up, he put himself on a course called The McGuire Programme which works on the neurological and psychological aspects of stammering.

It eased his problem massively and John, from Park Square, in Hartlepool, got the job he hoped for.

Now he has been nominated for the emergency services category in the Pride of Hartlepool awards and he said: “This is something I really did not expect. I am quite surprised by it.

“It would be a big honour if I won but I am just doing my job. I just happen to have a stammer as well.”

John first had an opportunity to become an ambulance driver when he was 22. Despite not being able to speak properly in his interview for the job, the father–of–three was determined to overcome his demon.

That’s when he turned to the McGuire Programme and it so inspired him, he has become an organiser for the scheme to help others with speech problems.

John becomes the latest entrant in this year’s Pride of Hartlepool competition which has attracted some fantastic entrants. There is still time for more people to come forward.

Ten categories up for grabs are Sporting Achievement; Community Group; Community Champion; Student of the Year; Fundraiser of the Year; Child of Courage; Local Hero; Green Champion; Emergency Services and Young Performer of the Year.

We are calling on our readers to nominate that special person or people who have done something that you believe deserves recognition.

It could be anyone from 999 heroes to community champions – help us celebrate those who have done their town proud. You have until Tuesday, April 1 to put in an entry. After that, we will begin the tough process of trying to choose a winner.

People can enter via the nomination form on this page in the Hartlepool Mail today, or by visiting our website at and filling in the online entry form.