Mark Tanner, National Star learner, 1999–2002
In January 1998 Mark Tanner had just received excellent marks in his mock A–levels and planned to take his exams and go on to university. Then he was involved in a road collision that left him with an acquired brain injury and unable to walk.
Mark became one of the first students to benefit from National Star’s then new Centre for Acquired Brain Injury and Rehabilitation. It was launched in 1999. Medical advances meant that people with brain injuries had a much better chance of survival. National Star believed it had a role to play in helping young people with brain injuries. Mark underwent an intensive programme of physiotherapy, speech therapy and occupational therapy.
‘My life has changed but it has not been ruined. I decided to continue with my education and thought it best to return to a college where I could further my physical abilities whilst recovering from my brain injury’ – Mark
In the 1990s the curriculum revolved around the Lifestyles and Vocational Preparation Course. It included core subjects such as communication and numerical skills, problem solving and information technology. Mark studied an advanced level IT qualification and a GCSE in drama.
By the time Mark left National Star he was walking again. He resumed his studies at Gloucestershire College – then Gloscat – and went on to the University of Gloucestershire to study business information technology. Now Mark volunteers two days a week with a charity, supporting others who have experienced brain injury. His pride and joy is his daughter Serin, who turned two in 2017.