Barnsley grandad gets his voice back

James Sykes
James Sykes
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A great-grandfather who completely lost his voice is able to speak again after having hospital treatment.

James Sykes, aged 81, was left unable to talk after a virus paralysed his vocal cords.

The retired miner, from Barnsley, believed there was no cure available as he was too ill to be put under a general anaesthetic. But now the pensioner has his voice back, after undergoing a procedure in Birmingham.

Mr Sykes came down with the virus two-and-a-half years ago, and lost the ability to speak entirely in January.

“I couldn’t have a conversation with anybody. It made me feel very lonely. My wife died 10 years ago so I live on my own, and after I lost my voice I stopped going out. I had no social life – I couldn’t even use the phone,” said Mr Sykes, who has five children, eight grandchildren and six great grandchildren.

He contacted consultant Declan Costello, at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, after his daughter Pat Rhodes, 59, heard about the medic’s work.

Mr Sykes was given a treatment called medialisation of the vocal cord, where filler material is injected into the tissue to reduce weakness.

The hospital has an endoscopic stack system, which allowed the consultant to get a clear view of the vocal cord.

Mr Sykes said it was ‘wonderful’ to speak again.