Carrick man who ‘rebuilt life from scratch’ shortlisted for brain injury award

Arthur with wife Elaine
Arthur with wife Elaine

A caring Carrickfergus father who has had to rebuild his life from scratch following brain injury has been shortlisted for a UK award for the way he is helping others affected.

Arthur Moore, 58, is one of only three people from across the UK competing for the title of Achiever of the Year in the Annual Awards run by Headway – the brain injury association, the UK-wide charity that works to improve life after brain injury.

The accolade, sponsored by Slater and Gordon Solicitors, will be presented by double Olympic gold medallist and Headway Vice President James Cracknell, who himself has a brain injury, at a glittering ceremony in The Dorchester Hotel, London on Friday, December 8.

Arthur sustained a brain injury while riding a motorbike that he got shortly after his 18th birthday in 1978.

The accident left him with a injury, which even four decades later, affects him in a number of ways including intolerance to noise, severe mood swings, social isolation and a loss of taste and smell.

Following the accident, Arthur tried to return to employment but it wasn’t long until his life began to unravel.

He was at his work’s Christmas dinner when he suddenly began to vomit and in the following days he continued to struggle with anxiety and communication problems.

He began to notice a discharge from his left nostril, after consulting with his doctor he found out that the fluid leaking from his nose was actually brain fluid and he needed surgery.

The procedure, which involved taking soft tissue from his thigh to seal a hole in his brain, was the first of many surgeries both major and minor that he would require over the years to come.

This included one in 1987 when one of his eyes began to protrude as a result of his brain injury and another a few years later that involved splitting and reconstructing his skull using bone from his hip.

Throughout this period he found it hard to cope with the effects of his brain injury and how it impacted him emotionally, psychologically and socially.

It wasn’t until 2014 that Arthur first heard and attended his local Headway group in Larne.

He still marvels at the level of support Headway provided and the positive impact it has had on his life.

But it’s the group that now want to say thank you to him and nominated him for a national award.

“Arthur has done so much to help people at the group feel welcome and supported,” said Steve Darby who nominated him.

He said Arthur is a real inspiration.

He said: “Arthur is very passionate about supporting people with brain injury and their families. He regularly attends the North Belfast Outreach Group and his welcoming attitude and genuine interest in talking to others is what makes people want to stay and become a part of the group.

“His authentic interest in helping others is what makes him a fantastic asset to Headway, he is highly regarded within the groups for being kind and considerate; he is often the first to help and is always looking to support other people.

“We often joke that the Headway logo will soon be replaced with his face as he is so heavily involved in services and supporting the organisation!”

Arthur has been vital to the charity in helping a number of projects become successful, including telling his story in a presentation to more than 200 people. In doing so, he helped to secure more £10k for services in Northern Ireland.

Arthur said he was very proud to be shortlisted for the award.

He said: “The first time I went to Headway, I was so nervous. I thought I wouldn’t be able to walk through the door, let alone talk to anyone.

“Since then my confidence and self belief has come back, so much so, that I’m now giving presentations about my experiences in front of hundreds of people.

“I love going to Headway and talking to everyone, helping people where I can. I like to make sure everyone in the group is involved and make the effort to chat to people who might be a bit shy. I just think ‘I was like that’.

“Being nominated for the award is very overwhelming. I’m really looking forward to going a meeting all the other people shortlisted – I’m sure it will be a special day.”

The Achiever of the Year will be named at a glittering ceremony at The Dorchester Hotel in London on Friday, 8 December, along with awards for the Volunteer, Carer and Campaigner of the Year, and the Stephen McAleese Outstanding Contribution to Headway Award.