A man who has struggled with a severe stutter for nearly 40 years has jointly set up a self-help group in Stevenage.

Rama Siva, who lives in the town, first began stuttering when he was three years old.

His speech held him back and he would avoid situations in which he would be forced to speak, like answering the phone.

But Rama has turned his life around, having completed a speech improvement course which pop singer Gareth Gates successfully used to help control his own stutter.

Now Rama would like to help others and, together with another person with a speech impediment, has set up a self-help group which meets on the first Monday of each month at the Sherma Batson Centre on Exchange Road. The next meeting will be on December 3, from 7pm to 8.30pm.

Rama said: “We would like to get the news out to other stammerers and parents of children who stammer that there is help out there.”