A three-year-old stroke survivor has inspired his second charity cookbook – and caught the attention of celebrity chef Jamie Oliver.
Oliver Archer, or ‘Ollie’ as he prefers to be called, suffered a stroke at birth and spent a week, critical, in West Suffolk Hospital’s neonatal unit.
Following his successful recovery, his parents, James and Liz, from Higham, started writing a blog of recipes their family – including Ollie’s five-year-old sister Mia – loved to cook.
They released Oliver’s Kitchen cookbook in 2012 to raise awareness of childhood strokes and money for the Bury St Edmunds hospital and Stroke Association charity.
This week, they launched a follow up, Oliver’s Kitchen – Seconds, featuring a foreword written by Jamie Oliver, who heard about Ollie’s story on social media.
He wrote: “Although strokes have affected my family, I was never aware of childhood strokes until I heard little Ollie’s story and since then I’ve been following his journey with real pride and admiration.
“There’s a whole range of recipes in this book that will take you from comfort food and super-naughty home-baked sweet treats to jams, salads and lots of family favourites.”
James, 32, said the latest book contained even more recipes and was packed with ‘stuff that’s fun to cook with the kids’ and ‘anything a bit unusual’.
“Ratatouille for one because of the film,” said James of Ollie’s favourites.
“The wow factor was Mia’s birthday cake. He was over the moon because it was rainbow coloured when we cut it,” said Liz, 33.
The book – priced at £12.99 – is available from the Friends of West Suffolk Hospital shop as well as Waterstones, Amazon and via www.olivers-kitchen.co.uk
All profits will be split between the hospital’s neonatal unit and the Stroke Association.
James added: “We’ve been blessed with some of the most outstanding support, help and encouragement over the last few years. We found that helping some great causes and turning a pretty frightening situation into a more positive one can be incredibly healing and rewarding – as well as a lot of fun.”
George Burroughs, the Stroke Association’s regional fund-raising manager for the East of England, said: “It’s absolutely essential for the benefit of, not just stroke survivors in this area, but nationwide, that people like Ollie, James and their family put themselves out there and raise money.”
Jan Bloomfield, executive director of workforce and communications at the hospital, said: “We’re absolutely delighted that, even though Ollie’s had a full recovery, they’re still committed to putting something back into the hospital.
“That’s where most of our fund-raising comes from, people who have a great experience of the hospital and want to say thank you. Ollie and his family have said thank you twice because this is their second book.”
Strokes in children are more common than you might think. According to the Stroke Association, around five in every 100,000 children suffer a stroke.
The organisation’s next fund-raiser is a glass walk, which will take place in Cambridge on April 27. For more details, visit www.stroke.org.uk/cambridgeglasswalk