In addition to our members, volunteers, fundraisers, trustees and staff, the British Stammering Association is supported by our valued Patrons.
The Patrons for the British Stammering Association are:
- broadcaster and former MP Ed Balls
You can borrow Ed's book 'Speaking Out', in which he talks about his stammer, from our library here.
- celebrated writer Dame Margaret Drabble DBE
- former MP and MSP John McAllion
- acclaimed author David Mitchell
You can borrow David's novel 'Black Swan Green', a semi-biographical book about a boy who stammers, from our library here. David also made a keynote speech to the World Congress for People who Stutter in 2013, which you can watch here.
- legendary entertainer Nicholas Parsons CBE
- actor, rapper and leading podcaster Scroobius Pip
Listen to a special stammering edition of Pip's podcast 'Distraction Pieces' here.
- businessman and broadcaster Arwel Richards
- novelist, poet, playwright and presenter Owen Sheers
Read more about Owen in our article here.
- the original ‘super agent’ Jon Smith
- politician Baroness Whitaker.
Read our interview with Baroness Whitaker, in which she talks about coping with her stammer in Parliament, here.
Our Patrons have each been impacted uniquely by their stammer. They each consider their stammer in a different way and we are keen to share their experience, views and insight.
We’re really looking forward to hearing back from each of our Patrons and sharing what they have to say. To give you an idea, in 2001 Margaret Drabble delivered a lecture in the Gulbenkian Lecture Hall in Oxford, at the invitation of the Oxford English Faculty. She said:
“The ability to speak fluently is a great asset in a literary career, and one much prized by publishers and publicists. Nevertheless, many of us find ourselves pressured or flattered or cajoled into making speeches against our better judgement.
'I was not cut out by my natural talents to be a lecturer or a public speaker. From an early age - the age of three, I am told - I suffered from a stammer, at times severe, though now very episodic and temperamental. So I could take the line that both Arnold Bennett and Somerset Maugham took when asked to speak in public, at after-dinner gatherings, or to literary societies. Both were severe stammerers, and both insisted that they didn't speak, they wrote. I could argue, though disingenuously, that my objections to the modern commercial literary circus spring from the fact that I entered it with a handicap, and that I feel that, as a writer, I am being expected to display skills or abilities that I do not possess.”