A SUPERMARKET worker who had to learn how to speak again after suffering a severe stroke is back at the tills following an eight-month battle to recover.

Lorraine Potter, 52, who has worked at the Asda store in Clacton since it opened four years ago, had a stroke at the start of the year.

She was taken to the high-dependency unit at Colchester Hospital where she found out that as well as having a stroke caused by a blood clot on the brain, she also had pneumonia.

But to the delight of her colleagues, she’s made such a great recovery that eight months later, she’s back on the checkouts.

Lorraine said: “The stroke just came completely out of the blue.

“I got up as normal, had a shower then went to work, but then I started to not feel very well.

“The store called my partner Gary to pick me up and when I got home, I just went to bed.

“Gary then saw my eyes start to roll and he called 999.

“The only thing I remember was waking up with the paramedic saying ‘we thought we’d lost you’.

“The stroke caused me to lose the ability to speak. I knew what I wanted to say in my head, but I just could not get the words out.

“I love to talk and to chat, but I just couldn’t. It was so frustrating.

“I thought how I am going to get through life without being unable to talk.

“On one occasion all the family came to visit me and they were all sat around telling me how much they loved me and I just sat there as I couldn’t say it back.

“The stroke didn’t effect my mobility, just my speech. I had to learn how to speak from scratch.

“When you say a word, you don’t think of it, you just say it. But I couldn’t.

“That part of my brain had died, so other parts of my brain are trying to compensate, but that can take a bit of time.”

Lorraine was determined to recover and get back to work.

She added: “Through my speech therapist, Alice, I had to learn where to put my tongue in my mouth to say a word.

“I had to start all over again, but she was amazing, as was everyone at the hospital.”

Although Lorraine was allowed home after five days and put on a course of antibiotics for the pneumonia, Alice made regular visits to her.

Now eight months later her speech has almost fully returned.

Lorraine, who now suffers from emphysema due to the pneumonia, says the support of her colleagues had made a great difference.

She said: “My colleagues have been wonderful. I just love them all so much. They have all been so caring and supportive.”

Lorraine used to work on the pizza and fish counters, but is now on checkouts so she can sit down more.

Store manager Jason Walker said Lorraine is like a mum to many of the staff

“Everyone at our store was devastated to hear the news of Lorraine falling ill, but we have been blown away by her exceptional recovery,” he said.

“She is an inspiration to us all and I am very proud to have her on our team.”