Coventry & Warwickshire

Lifetime carer from Coventry 'wouldn't change anything'

Mike Howard and wife Lorraine Image copyright Mike Howard
Image caption Mike Howard, pictured with wife Lori, said he "wouldn't change anything"

A man who cared for his parents as a child and looks after his wife says "he wouldn't have things any other way".

Mike Howard, 49, was at school when he met wife Lorraine, who has spinal muscular atrophy and uses a wheelchair.

The carer, whose son has Asperger's syndrome, said he saw himself "as a husband first and a carer second".

Mr Howard works for Carers Trust Heart of England, which will announce the winners of its first carers awards for Coventry and Warwickshire on Friday.

The 49-year-old has muscular dystrophy and at times uses a wheelchair himself or a walking stick.

Image copyright Mike Howard
Image caption Mr Howard has known Lori since he was about 11 (pictured together at school in 1983)

He said: "Like many carers I don't see myself as a carer.

"In the night she might wake up and I have to turn her over, because she can't do this for herself.

"You can sit feeling sorry for yourself (but)... we're happy. We wouldn't change anything."

The couple, from Coventry, became friends through school and college and later married in 2013, after contacting each other via Facebook.

Mr Howard grew up in London. His father had muscular dystrophy and his mother mental and physical health issues and he said he had been a carer for "probably as far back as I can remember".

He said he had learned how to cook aged nine or 10, do shopping and get a wheelchair out of a car.

Mr Howard added: "It really is true that there is always someone worse off than yourself, and I think very often dealing with it is just a state of mind."

Image copyright Mike Howard
Image caption Mr Howard with his stepdaughter Kiah (left), his son Ciaran and his wife Lori

Nominations have closed for the carers awards after more than 100 were put forward in eight categories,

Winners will be revealed at Coombe Abbey, Warwickshire, on Friday at an event Casualty actor Holly Matthews is due to attend.

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