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December 2022

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Welcome to the last newsletter of 2022!

The newsletter is back! At Rosetta Life, and specifically Brain Odysseys, we want to thank everyone for their
contributions and unwavering support throughout 2022. The Ambassadors network
has developed over the year and we now have over 100 Ambassadors in Bristol,
Donegal, Reading, Bucks and London.

Ambassadors have welcomed, supported, and befriended 34 new members in 2022. The Ambassadors again demonstrated great resilience while navigating the remaining uncertainties of COVID-19.

This year has seen huge developments for the Ambassadors, including:

A Newfound Mind Performance

Our Poetry Anthology was launched

MUSARC x Ambassadors choir collaboration

The return of face-to-face Hospital sessions at Pulross Medical Centre (a new venue!) and St Thomas’ Hospital

We are looking forward to continue to realise our goals in 2023 while reaching and inspiring more stroke and brain injury survivors.

We wish you all a happy festive season and New Year!





Here it is! You can watch the entirety of our performance ‘A Newfound Mind’ below!

For this performance, our chorus of Ambassadors supported our new participants (the
Waterloo group) as emerging artists. This performance took place on October
19th 2022 at Greenwood Theatre. The piece was devised from workshops held with the
Waterloo group (images below). The piece was composed by Orlando Gough,
directed by Lucinda Jarrett and musically directed by Melanie Pappenheim. The
movement director was Louise Klarnett. Jennie Surmeli and Mairéad Ruane were
producers. On the performance day, Jaana Parka and Elijah Coy assisted the
production. We were joined by the brilliant musicians Johnathan Williams (piano),
Sarah Homer (clarinet), Karen Street (accordion). The videographers were Chris
Rawlence and Basia Talago-Jones.




The Reading ambassadors curated an anthology of poems and launched it on National Poetry Day. Poetry might seem an unusual art form for people struggling with aphasia after a stroke. However, the disruptive syntax and the nouns with mismatched meaning spark extraordinary creativity.

This anthology loosely follows the order of recovery after brain injury, from the trauma of a life changing moment through rehabilitation, to independent living. A remarkable discovery in the reading of the anthology is how strongly optimistic nearly all the poems are. Many address losing an older or earlier identity, but there is very little description of despair.

To order an anthology by mail, please contact and send us your address. Or you can download an electronic copy here:

If you would like to make a donation, please do so here: 

Image: Poetry anthology front cover – image @Hazel Hammond

Click here to watch this:



Mairéad recently completed MASc Creative Health at UCL and is now working with us and MIND.

Mairéad is an award-winning mental health advocate and lived experience speaker with a background in short film production and co-production.

Mairéad seeks to shape change in how health and mental health are imagined, treated and portrayed. 


Your space to share your creativity!

Send your work to Mairéad for the next newsletter at


Squirrel by Samantha

‘Squirrel on my wall, in the cold and snow trying to keep warm, and this picture I took says it all‘ by Samantha, London Ambassador

 To hear more, contact James:

Ambassador Focus

Each newsletter, we feature an Ambassador to talk about their experiences and what Brain Odysseys means to them.

This newsletter’s featured Ambassador is Fanny Abordo, a new London Ambassador

Fanny was born in 1946 in the Philippines. She came to the UK in 1974 to study to become a psychiatric nurse. She was a psychiatric nurse in hospitals including St Thomas’ Hospital for 25 years. Fanny suffered a stroke while she was on holiday in America in 2017. Despite many falls, Fanny is still active and keeps busy as a volunteer guide at the Tate Gallery. Fanny is an Ambassador, a volunteer and a Befriender for charities across Westminster. She is also a nail technician and a keen baker, which she incorporates into her volunteering.

‘Being an ambassador I can inspire people who have had a stroke and show them what you can do. I have this drive and motivation and positive attitude and I never give up on anything or anyone. I don’t regret that I had a stroke.

Brain Odysseys has helped me learn that having a stroke is not the end of the world. I have learnt that there is always something that I can provide to other people. I’ve learnt to have patience and take time to decide what words to use so that others can understand me. Sometimes they can’t find the words they really want to use so I can help them’.


In Reading, ambassadors have continued to support the hospital sessions and have also launched a stroke cafe at Royal Berkshire Hospital, providing space and opportunity for people to speak about life after stroke while on the hospital wards.

Also in Reading, Ambassadors performed their original performance, A Pilgrim’s Tale, at the University of Reading – they even filmed a boat trip along the Thames as part of their process and included film and animation in their final performance. In Reading, the Ambassadors continue to support the work of our artists on the wards of the Royal Berkshire Hospital.

Throughout the pandemic they held online sessions and created monthly newsletters to keep ambassadors connected to each other. The Reading ambassadors curated an anthology of poems and artwork submitted by the national networks of ambassadors, entitled Sometimes I Dream I am Dancing. The anthology was launched on National Poetry Day.  It is a remarkable testament to the resilience and creativity of the communities we support. You can download a copy here or order one by emailing 

It has been a very sad year for the Bristol Stroke Odyssey team. As well as losing our dear friend Lizzie a couple of years ago, we have lost three more members of our troupe this year, Peggy, Jane and Alan.
As part of Bristol After Strokes post Covid Memorial Day in June, (the event was originally planned for early 2021 but was moved a number of times due to lock down), the Stroke Odyssey group choreographed and performed a dance in Lizzie’s honour and sung her favourite song, Maggie May by Rod Stewart. Lizzie’s husband Nigel was in the audience and it was a very emotional performance by the group. Lizzie was a very enthusiastic and popular member of the team, she joined on day one and remained committed to it. I know she got a lot out of Stroke Odysseys and it certainly helped in her recovery post stroke. By the time the event came to fruition it was not just a celebration of the life of Lizzie but for the other friends that passed away as well.

These are the confirmed dates to keep free next year so far…

Tuesday January 17th: rehearsal

Tuesday February 7th: rehearsal 

Tuesday February 21st: rehearsal

Friday February 24th: English National Ballet performance

Tuesday March 7th: Masterclass

Tuesday April 4th or 11th: rehearsal

Wednesday April 12th: Performance at the Guildhall


Brain Odysseys is one arm of the arts charity Rosetta Life which was established in 1997 to ensure that every person living with life altering illness or facing loss has the opportunity to lead a full creative life.
Rosetta Life develops innovative arts practices and delivers professional performances that challenge the stigma of life with Life altering illness or loss.  
Rosetta Life engages participants in transformative creative processes that enable them to alter their own perception of a life altering illness. 
Rosetta Life develops confidence and creative skills so that individuals are able to create performances that change the perceptions of audiences about the experience of lives with serious illness.

We are always looking for volunteers and sponsors to support us in continuing our work

Here is a short video to look back on what the charity has been up to in 2022…