A Renfrew woman who was left isolated, depressed and anxious after sustaining a life-changing head injury is now helping others to rebuild their lives.

PAISLEY DAILY EXPRESS: Live news as it happens

Jan Bunch was left unable to speak properly and with an Edinburgh accent after she suffered a serious concussion in a work accident in May 2017.

Jan, a site supervisor for an engineering company, initially thought she has had suffered a bad cut to her head when the metal door of a fuse box flung open and struck her.

She was stitched up and sent home from hospital within hours, but the seriousness of her injury became apparent in the days that followed.

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The mum-of-two was unable to form proper sentences when talking and reverted to speaking with a thick Edinburgh accent, a city she left 35 years ago.

Taken back to A&E by her concerned family, Jan underwent a number of neurological tests before she was diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome.

Jan, 57, told the Express: “When the symptoms started I developed a broad Edinburgh accent.

“I come from Edinburgh originally, but it was very strange.

“I had all the dialect and I couldn’t understand where it had come from.

“I was getting words back to front and one of the symptoms was when people were speaking I would finish their sentences.”

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She added: “I started being quite reclusive and trying not to speak.

“I was scared in case I said anything wrong.

“I was correcting myself constantly.

“I thought if I don’t say anything I can’t make a blunder.

“I was very down.

“It was like balancing on a tightrope - I didn’t know if I was going to fall.”

It was around this time that Jan discovered Quarriers.

After speaking to Advice Works about financial problems - brought on because she was unable to work, Jan was referred to Renfrewshire Head Injury Service.

There she was introduced to Quarriers’ Sunshine Club, which aims to support people living with brain injuries in the Renfrewshire area.

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Jan added: “Three years down the line and I have coped with it all quite well, but that is all down to Quarriers and everything they have done for me.

“They listened when it was hard to tell my immediate family how I was feeling.

“It was such a relief to talk to someone who knew what I was talking about.

“The idea of not working, that was like a divorce to me.

“Something that was a major part of my life for three years had been taken away.

“But I have a new lifestyle now.

“I have reinvented my life and I am trying to focus on the
positive.”

The new confidence Jan has developed with the support of Quarriers has seen the grandmother dedicate much of her time to others who are experiencing the despair she felt.

When her speech recovered she became a volunteer activities worker at the weekly meetings in Paisley’s Tannahill Centre.

She has also undertaken learning modules set by Quarriers that have not only broadened her knowledge of brain injuries, but also equipped her with the tools to support others.

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And she just recently secured a job as a Quarriers relief project worker to help at the Sunshine Club while continuing her role as a fundraising volunteer.

“I desperately want to give back to Quarriers,” Jan said.

“The service and staff are my lifeline, my future.

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“The Sunshine Club has made me look at life more positively and trained my brain to look at the positives and not the
negatives.

“There will be a lot of people feeling the way I did on the first day and if I can help them it is 100 per cent worth it.”