THE dynamics of Shelagh Brennand's life changed dramatically after she suffered a stroke.

Previously working in CID with the police, and latterly as a private investigator, Shelagh was forced to give up her work.

While she noticed her brain was working slower, interestingly, she explains how it would only think in rhyme which, initially, she found frustrating - before putting pen to prose.

"I began to write poetry (Pam Ayres style of poetry). Everything rhymed at the end!" she explains.

The 54-year-old who lived in Bradford before emigrating to Australia in 1982, explains how she began sharing her poetry with the Stroke Foundation (a not for profit organisation in Australia and the voice of stroke) and through Facebook stroke sites.

"People enjoyed reading it. My poetry was about how I felt. Sad, frustrating, amusing and all about the stroke recovery I was going through," explains Shelagh.

"Stroke survivors and carers identified with the feelings and made them not feel so alone. My poetry helped me get through these tough times too."

Shelagh suffered her stroke on April 15 2013. She had been gardening with her son, Patrick, who was 11 at the time.

"I came inside for a drink of water as I was very hot. I felt nauseous and head into the toilet bowl, that's the last thing I remember! I suffered a dissection (tear) of my basilar artery in the back of my neck and the high BP and movement of my neck forced the blood to tear through this artery and into my brain and knocked me out," she explains.

Regaining consciousness, Shelagh recalls being unable to speak and feeling numb in her right side.

"That had to be the scariest moment of my life," she recalls.

Shelagh was recovering well but within three months she suffered post stroke depression and found it difficult to focus on the future.

"I had been a successful Detective, PI and believed there was nothing I would be able to do, in order to satisfy myself in the future," she recalls.

Recognising that depression is an illness, Shelagh's sister, Patricia, took her to the doctors where she received medication.

"But it wasn't until I met my Personal Trainer that my life changed," she adds.

Poetry has also proved effective in Shelagh's recuperation and now she is using her skill to inspire others.

"Stroke survivors and carers identified with the feelings and made them not feel so alone. My poetry helped me get through these tough times too.

"Following on from my depression, I began training and then learned more positive attributes and focusing on what I CAN do, gratefulness and became a more positive person and make something of my life. These are the skills I use every single day and promote them to others," says Shelagh.

On November 29 2015 Shelagh launched her self-published book 'A Stroke of Poetry.'

"I needed lots of help and my editor, Alex Mitchell, was hugely supportive as it took lots of brain energy and I got there in the end."

Shelagh explains the book features poetry from the day of her stroke progressing through to her finally getting her life back on track.

"It has poetry from my initial poem about the day of my stroke and the poems become brighter and better as I found exercise and creativity through my poetry helped me get back on the track of life. The book has Mandalas to colour, as colour therapy is good for depression and also positive affirmations."

As well as helping people through her own experience, Shelagh is also a Stroke Safe Ambassador with the Stroke Foundation, a voluntary role which involves presenting a stroke safe presentation to community and health organisations on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland where she lives.

Before emigrating, Shelagh grew up in Stoney Ridge Avenue, Bradford, with her three siblings. Her older brother, Stephen still lives in Bradford, her older sister, Helen, lives near Hull and her younger sister, Patricia lives close by on the Sunshine Coast.

She attended St Cuthberts and First Martyrs Primary School as well as St Edmund Campion and later St Joseph's College.

Shelagh's late father retired as Personnel Manager at Listers Mill. They were, she recalls, 'an enthusiastic cricketing family' and were involved with Manningham Mills Cricket Club in Scotchman Lane, Heaton.

Her father was president, her brother scored and she and her sisters did the 'tins' while their mum helped with the cricket teas.

In 1982 Shelagh joined West Yorkshire (Metropolitan) and was posted to Garforth Police Station, Leeds.

"I had a wonderful career and followed a CID path within the Police," she explains.

In June 2008 Shelagh retired as a Professional Standards Detective Inspector with a 25 year exemplary record of service and some Chief Constable Commendations.

"I loved my career and have many happy memories of the colleagues with whom I worked," recalls Shelagh.

That month she and her husband, David, retired to Australia seeking a better life.

"Although my intention was to retire and be a "lady wot does lunch!" after helping my husband David set up his data cabling/fibre optic business here, I got bored, so seven months in I applied for my Private Investigator licence."

Shelagh initially sub-contracted to a number of investigations companies in Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast.

"I loved my PI work, dealing with many complex, factual investigations, whilst being able to spend more time with Patrick.

"This was my occupation until the day of my stroke. I have not been able to return to that profession as my brain is slower than it was and I had to admit I would no longer be an effective Investigator."

As well as penning her poetry and helping others through her work, Shelagh is also the Vice President of the Vintage Calendar Girls Inc and she also works closely with the founder Misty Bland who she met during one of her book workshops.

Shelagh explains how they raise money for Sunshine Coast families battling cancer. She is also a volunteer with Rosies on the Street, a charity providing companionship and services for less privileged people.

And when she isn't volunteering or spreading the important word about Stroke, Shelagh enjoys running. "My yearly goals are 2-3 10k runs. I cycle, climb the local mountains and love walking. My life back in the UK is NOT a distant memory but I love the life I have here. I just wish I could bring my whole family and friends to share it with me."