Since overcoming his impediment, Daniel Reid of Llanfairfechan has spoken in front of 100 people at a wedding.
A teenager with a stammer took a leaf out of singer Gareth Gates’ book and has now conquered his speech impediment.
Like Gates, Daniel Reid’s stammer caused him no end of distress – but his life changed for the better thanks to a programme of daily breathing exercises.
But Daniel, now 19, will never forget how the impediment marked his life. On his first day of secondary school he stammered so badly he wasn’t able to say his name out loud in front of his classmates.
Daniel, then aged 12, rapidly lost his confidence and very soon wanted to change schools, but his mother, Wendy, encouraged him to remain at Ysgol Friars, Bangor.
School days slightly improved when he changed classes to join his friends from primary school who were used to his speech impediment.
Daniel, of Llanfairfechan, has battled with a speech impediment all his life and his parents sent him for speech therapy from the age of seven until he was 14 – but to no avail.
“School was a miserable time for me, I was bullied and laughed at,” said Daniel, who know works two jobs as a sales and kitchen assistant.
“I was a withdrawn person even in front of friends, if I thought I’d struggle to say something I just wouldn’t speak.
“I’d avoid meeting people I didn’t know, and my parents and sister would finish my sentences for me, which I didn’t mind.
“My sister would order any takeaways I wanted – anything so I didn’t have to talk.
“For some reason saying my name was the worst thing for me, I have no idea why. I just couldn’t get ‘Dan’ or ‘Daniel’ out, and sometimes I’d even make up a name if a stranger asked what my name was.”
But things dramatically changed for the better when he went to London to try the Mcguire Programme, the same scheme Gareth Gates goes on to control his speech impediment. “It’s a challenging programme, I have to do 20 minute breathing exercises every morning,” said Daniel.
“I also had to stop 100 strangers on Oxford Street, asking them directions and so on. My mother was with me and she was crying because she couldn’t believe I was actually talking to complete strangers.”
His mother was so impressed with her son’s new-found confidence that she asked him to be best man when she was getting married to Daniel’s stepdad Mark.
“I was both terrified and excited that they asked me,” said Daniel. “One hundred people were coming, many of whom I had never met before, so they had no idea I had a problem with my speech.
“I had five months to practice but we were all nervous on the day. But using the techniques I learnt through the Mcguire programme, I nailed it.
“My mum was in tears and I’m just so glad I was able to do it for her and Mark.”