A Swindon mother left unable to use half her body following multiple strokes has found community in a local art group.

Alison Marshall, 55, from Gorse Hill has lived in Swindon for 20 years is a regular at Reach Inclusive Art's weekly sessions at the Wyvern Theatre every Tuesday and despite the challenges she's been left with has been able to create some fantastic works of art.

Her son Arron Dando contacted the Adver to praise the group for supporting his mum

"She had her first stroke in 2011 and wasn't found until three hours later. The first stroke severely affected her mobility and left her paralysed down one-half of her body.

"She has had multiple strokes since then."

Arron explained that it was extremely difficult to see the impact this had on his mother for all of the family which is why he is now really grateful to the art club for giving his mother an opportunity to make friends and to express herself creatively.

"I am so happy that the club is there and that it is able to support my mum to do this."

He added that he has been very impressed by the paintings she has produced during her time there.

"I think it's absolutely amazing, I don't think I could've done a better job myself. It was quite surprising when she showed me what she had done and remarkable to me that she was able to do it with the difficulties she has.

"So I just wanted to raise awareness for the club and what it's doing because the fact she's still been able to pursue her hobbies means so much to us all."

Swindon Advertiser: Some examples of Alison's art work created at the Reach Inclusive Arts groupSome examples of Alison's art work created at the Reach Inclusive Arts group (Image: Arron Dando)

But as well as creating artwork, Alison was also recently given the opportunity to meet a hero of hers, TV soap Neighbours star Alan Fletcher who was performing a show at the local venue while the group was holding a session.

"She showed me a picture of her with him and I had no idea who he was," Arron said, "But she is a big Neighbours fan and was pretty overjoyed and wouldn't stop talking about it."

Jeni Burchell is the operations manager for the charity, which is based at the Wyvern Theatre, and she explained a little bit more about what the organisation does.

"We're an arts organisation that solely provides artistic opportunities to adults and young people with a range of disabilities and additional needs.

"We have a whole range of different projects throughout the year, whether that be performing arts, creative arts or visual arts."

Speaking about Alison, she added: "She is one of the people who attends regularly and clearly gets a lot out of it. It's one of those things that's quite telling - when people are engaged in the art there's this comfortable quietness and she has that.

"I wish you could've seen her with Alan Fletcher from Neighbours! He was just in the foyer but came over and was so nice and supportive. Ali was the only person who recognised him and she was beside herself with excitement."

The Reach Inclusive Arts art group meets every Tuesday from 10.30am to 12.30pm and strives to be as accessible as possible.

It works with a number of professional artists and participants have produced paintings, and a patchwork flag depicting the queen and recently has been working with masks.

Anyone is welcome and all the charity asks is for someone to call in advance if they are planning to attend so that they can make sure they have the necessary facilities in place to accommodate that person.

It is completely free for those participating, but the charity does ask if those taking part can pay £5 per session if they are able to.