I’m sorry, Dad, I know I should have said it sooner but I’m say­ing it now

Stam­mer suf­ferer hailed an in­spi­ra­tion af­ter de­liv­er­ing mov­ing mes­sage to fa­ther over fu­neral re­gret

The Sunday Post (Newcastle) - - NEWS - By Paul English MAIL@SUNDAYPOST.COM

Ateacher whose stam­mer pre­vented him from speak­ing at his late fa­ther’s fu­neral has be­come an in­spi­ra­tion af­ter a video that showed him read­ing a let­ter apol­o­gis­ing to his dad went vi­ral. John McIn­tosh recorded the film 28 years af­ter his fa­ther David died aged 61. In it, he ex­plains how he “bot­tled it” when faced with the op­por­tu­nity to speak at his fa­ther’s fu­neral ser­vice due to the speech im­ped­i­ment he had never ac­knowl­edged. Now the 58-year-old, of Glas­gow, has be­come a role model af­ter his video for the Scot­tish Stam­mer­ing Net­work was shared thou­sands of times once it was posted this week. The dad of two said: “I think peo­ple are re­spond­ing to the vul­ner­a­bil­ity in what I’m say­ing. One of the prob­lems with stam­mer­ing is it’s quite in­vis­i­ble. You don’t see it rep­re­sented in the me­dia un­less it’s com­edy char­ac­ters like Ron­nie Barker’s Ark­wright in Open All Hours, or Derek Nimmo. The re­al­ity is very dif­fer­ent. “The num­ber of peo­ple with a stam­mer is around 1 in 100 and some peo­ple are in real de­spair with it, sui­ci­dal even. “It af­fects ev­ery as­pect of your life. You don’t say the things you want to say, you say the things you’re able to say. There are feel­ings of guilt and shame, be­cause you can’t talk flu­ently, some­thing even chil­dren can do.” Like singer Gareth Gates, John ben­e­fited from the McGuire Pro­gramme, which teaches peo­ple who stam­mer to use breath­ing tech­niques when speak­ing. John, an English teacher at East­wood High in East Renfrewshire, said: “Be­fore I be­came a teacher I did jobs where I didn’t need to speak to peo­ple. “When I started teach­ing, I used avoid­ance strate­gies. But the pro­gramme says you have to be up­front about your stam­mer. “It was ter­ri­fy­ing, but I went in one day and left notes in all the teacher’s pi­geon holes ask­ing them to talk to me about it. I gave as­sem­blies for 250 pupils about stam­mer­ing, and you could hear a pin drop, pupils stood up and gave a round of ap­plause.” John’s video, which you can watch at SundayPost.com, is the first of six to be posted by the Scot­tish Stam­mer­ing Net­work Char­ity as part of its Hear The Per­son aware­ness cam­paign. The char­ity’s chair­man James Ste­wart said: “Stam­mer­ing is of­ten over­looked in so­ci­ety. As a con­se­quence peo­ple who stam­mer can strug­gle to have their voice heard.”

John McIn­tosh, main, and in class, left

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