Chris Tarrant opens refurbished and extended Phoenix Stroke clubhouse

Chris Tarrant opens extended Phoenix Stroke Club
Katie Watson and Emma Barnard, daughters of founder Jenny Filby, hold the ribbon for Chris Tarrant. Also present is Don Burstow, trustee for over 40 years.
(Left to right: Katie Watson, Don Burstow, Chris Tarrant, Emma Barnard)

Chris Tarrant, former presenter of Who Wants to Be A Millionaire, officially opened the extended and refurbished building for Phoenix Stroke Club.

The club, based in Horsham, provides support to over 50 stroke survivors every week across West Sussex. Over £325,000 was raised to pay for the building and landscaping work. The extension means more members can join, particularly stroke survivors in wheelchairs. There is a therapy room where members can receive treatment in the privacy of a dedicated area as well as a new landscaped garden area.

Chris Tarrant suffered a terrifying stroke mid-air during a 14 hour flight from Bangkok to London in 2014. He thought he had cramp before realising it was far more serious. Upon landing, he was rushed to Charing Cross Hospital where doctors did emergency surgery to remove a blood clot from his leg. He needed a lot of speech therapy and physiotherapy and made many changes to his lifestyle to minimise the risk of suffering another stroke.

Commenting Chris said; ‘Having a stroke was a terrifying experience and the rehabilitation is tough. Places like Phoenix Stroke Club make such a wonderful difference and I was delighted to be asked to join in the celebrations. I have enjoyed meeting everyone and what you have achieved here is impressive.’

Don Burstow, who has been a trustee at the club for over 40 years, oversaw much of the building project. He said; ‘These improvements means we can offer support to more stroke survivors and provide them with a better experience when they are with us. I would like to thank the fundraisers and the many donors who made the dream of a new building and garden become a reality.’

Daryl Gayler suffered a debilitating stroke in February 2019, aged just 52, whilst at work as a Regional Director at NatWest Bank. He joined the club when it reopened in May 2021. Daryl said; ‘I come to Phoenix Club twice a week and have made a new circle of friends. I particularly enjoy the quizzes, games and the educational talks. It gives my family a break and makes such as a difference to my life.’

Over 100 stroke survivors, donors, volunteers and trustees joined in the official opening. Donors for the building work include The League of Friends of Horsham Hospital, The Wolfson Foundation and The Hope Keith Villagers Trust.

For more information contact Sarah Boult on 07557 079955 or