Devoted Morecambe wife up for national carer award

Molly and Warren Veale.
Molly and Warren Veale.

A devoted wife from Morecambe who put her own life on hold to care for her loved one after he sustained a life-changing brain injury has been shortlisted for a national award.

Molly Veale, 55 and from Morecambe, will be recognised at an annual awards ceremony organised by Headway – the brain injury association as one of just three people from across the UK in the running for the title of Carer of the Year.

I wanted him (Warren) to have a reason to keep going

Molly Veale

Molly said: “I’m amazed that I have been chosen as a finalist for such a prestigious award.

“It’s such a surprise.

“As a carer, you spend a lot of the time in the background looking, listening and prompting and do not think about yourself.

“I value every day with Warren and the nomination has made me feel very loved by him and the Headway group.”

Molly was completing the second year of a degree at Brighton University in 2005 when she received the devastating news that her partner of two years, Warren, had been involved in a near-fatal motorbike accident.

Warren, who had been in the process of setting up his own business as a car salesman in London at the time of the accident, suffered severe head injuries that caused bleeding in his brain, leaving him in a coma with a life-changing traumatic brain injury.

Warren was rushed to Lewisham Hospital where he remained in a coma for four weeks.

Thankfully, Warren began to show signs of improvement but, even when he finally regained consciousness, doctors warned his family that it was unlikely he would ever walk again.

This was a dark time for all his family and friends.

During the early stages of recovery Warren’s prospects of making a good recovery looked bleak and Molly never left her loved one’s side. Warren required 24-hour care and Molly condensed her 40-hour working week into three days so that she could drive to London every week to feed, bath and care for her husband at the hospital.

And Molly’s devotion did not stop there.

She even took to sleeping in her car at the hospital car-park to save petrol money so she could afford to visit and support Warren for the eight years he remained in hospital.

After two years on intensive care and then high dependency wards, Warren was transferred to a neurological rehabilitation centre in Putney to begin a long and arduous battle to recovery.

Even though Warren was unable to speak for almost two years following his brain injury, Molly soon learned to identify exactly what her loved one needed.

The couple would often play card games together and Molly took every opportunity to take Warren out into the community to enjoy simple pleasures of buying magazines and pizza.

“We have been together for almost twelve years but Warren has been seriously ill for a lot of that time,” said Molly.

“There is a certain closeness that you develop that is hard to define, but I knew instinctively what Warren needed. Other carers will know that feeling.

“We have been together for almost twelve years but Warren has been seriously ill for a lot of that time.

“I chose to be with Warren over completing my university degree because I love and believe in him and know how vitally important it is for a person’s recovery to have a loving and supportive family by the bedside, encouraging them every step of the way.

“I wanted him to have a reason to keep going.”

More than a decade after the couple met in Brighton, Warren asked Molly to marry him and the couple began the next chapter of their lives together.

Today, the couple are happily married, though Warren’s recovery continues.

It was not until Warren was finally discharged from hospital two years ago that the couple discovered Headway Lancaster and Morecambe Bay, a local charity that supports local families affected by brain injury.

With the support of Molly, Headway, and the local 315 gym, Warren made significant progress with strengthening his muscles and rebuilding his language skills.

This year will mark the second year running that Molly has helped Warren complete a charity triathlon to raise funds for Headway Lancaster and Morecambe Bay.

Molly said: “Being a carer is physically and mentally demanding so being part of Headway allows me to stretch my own skills.

“I prefer the term ‘life coach’ to ‘carer’ as it’s my role to positively encourage and empower my husband to achieve.

“I really hope our story encourages families similarly affected by brain injury to never lose hope and seek all the support Headway offers.”

Molly was nominated by Janet Staff, interim Chairperson at Headway Lancaster and Morecambe Bay.

Janet said: “Molly expects nothing in return for devoting her life to supporting Warren.

“They are both inspirational people and it is their love and determined natures that has enabled Warren to make such incredible strides to recovery. Everyone is delighted for Molly and the entire community has rallied to support her.”

Each year, Headway Annual Awards celebrates the exceptional efforts of survivors of brain injury and their carers. Molly will discover if she is to be named Carer of the Year at a glittering ceremony at The Dorchester Hotel, in London, on Friday December 11.