Royal Mail Sheffield: postal worker who 'died' twice on the operating table thanks NHS staff who helped him

A Sheffield postal worker ‘died’ twice on the operating table and had to learn to walk and talk again.

Friday, 22nd October 2021, 3:43 pm

Iain Barker, who works at the Halfway Delivery Office in Sheffield, is determined to thank the NHS staff who saved his life and helped him walk, talk and regain his sight following the operation to remove a brain tumour.

He is joining Royal Mail colleagues this Sunday for a charity hike which they hope will raise £2,500 for the Sheffield Community Brain Injury Rehabilitation Team (SCBIRT) which helped him recover.

Iain said: “I’d virtually lost my eyesight, I couldn’t walk, I couldn’t talk properly, my memory was that battered that I had to look through my phone in the hospital to find out what my wife was called. I’ll never forget that.”

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Sheffield postal worker Iain Barker, who 'died' twice on the operating table, with his Royal Mail colleague Mark Wilkinson

The SCBIRT supported Iain with speech therapy, physiotherapy and help with his eyesight.

He can now legally drive again, his speech is almost back to normal – “I think I sound like Sean Connery” he says – and has recovered from the point of needing two men to help him walk around the ward immediately after his operation to now eyeing up a tough 15-mile walk to celebrate how far he has come, as well as to raise money for the SCBIRT service.

Iain said: “It’s a challenge because it’s going to be the biggest thing I’ve done since it happened to me.

Iain Barker with his Royal Mail colleagues who are joining him on the charity hike in aid of the NHS

“It is to celebrate the fact that I can now see where I’m going and I can walk pretty much alright. After a month of being in hospital and then a further almost complete year off work, much of it spent in the house before I could get out, this is the icing on the cake.”

Iain and his recovery have been supported by Royal Mail, with Mark Wilkinson, service delivery leader, keen from the very beginning to organise the charity hike.

Mark said: “This is a massive challenge for him and I’m sure he can do it. They’ve dragged me along as well which is going to be fun and I’m sure we’ll be alright!

“As tough as it is, we decided to do this walk to celebrate and to raise a few grand for the people who saved his life and put him back on his feet.”

Iain, Mark and three Royal Mail colleagues will set off at 7.30am on Sunday, October 24 from Bakewell – the site of Iain’s first base in the job 15 years ago.

Iain said: “You lay there in hospital thinking you’ve blown it and you start thinking about places you’ve been, things you’ve done and people you’ve known that you really like and enjoyed. Working in Bakewell was one of them. I want to walk past my old office.

“After the tumour was removed there were a lot of things that were wrong, some of which I’m going to have to live with for the rest of my life, but at least I’ve got a life to live and I can get on with it now.”

Mark Adams, team manager at SCBIRT, said: “We work with our service users to help them embrace life and this challenge is all about that. It’s fantastic to see Iain and his colleagues celebrating the strides he has made in his rehabilitation.”