Callum Wells
Marylebone, London

First Course:
London Wembley March 2018

Callum shows that the McGuire Programme is for all ages if you want it badly enough.

Since joining the programme, which was the Wembley course in March of this year and attending a refresher course in Harrogate, my confidence with my speech has only been increasing to the point where I asked my school if I could speak in the leavers assembly. As a covert stutterer, I was very nervous about the reaction and due to having two 5 hour GCSEs the days before, I didn’t have the chance to tell anybody what I had planned. Once I started speaking, I overcame my nerves and felt so proud that I had inspired people during National Stuttering Awareness Week. I informed the audience that stuttering is more common than they think and used statistics to emphasise that there should be roughly 10 in our school. I also told them to remember the McGuire Programme if they know anybody with a stutter. I felt that it really helped when I made reference to the celebrities that stutter and I saw some surprised faces.

A teacher emailed me to say that it was a wonderful speech and, “so many members of the tutor group said how brilliant it was”. This is a great example that people surprise you with their reactions in a positive way. After hearing me tell my peers that, before joining the programme, my Maths teacher laughed at me when I couldn’t say my name in front of my whole class; the school have asked me if I would like to make a presentation to all of the teachers about stuttering as part of their teacher training, which is my next challenge that I look forward to!

Every day, my primary coaches prepared me for the assembly over the phone. I called them both the evening before and practiced my speech while one cried - I felt so honoured that I have such dedicated coaches, especially when she posted the video on her Instagram page. I was delighted when another coach called me on the morning of the speech so as to motivate me and I really appreciate it. The support from all of the coaches that I regularly speak to has been tremendous.   Now i am a coach on the programme where I help others to gain control of their speech.

Without The McGuire Programme, I never could have pursued a career as a journalist, a job where I rely on my speech to conduct interviews over the phone and at red carpet events on a regular basis.

Since my time at school where I would refrain from putting my hand up due to a fear of blocking on certain words, I now do just that but in order to attract the attention of celebrities over reporters from rival publications at press conferences.