This week's inspiring TV documentary about six people battling to beat their stammer had a special meaning for 38-year-old Matt Hancock.

Mr Hancock is sales and marketing manager at the historic 17th century conference centre Cumberland Lodge in Windsor Great Park.

But at one time his stammer was so bad he could not get a job at all.

He said: "It started as a child. I was quite good at covering it up and just coming across as shy and introverted. It became difficult at school where you are expected to read out loud and give presentations."

But it was as an adult while living in Mill Street, Slough he saw one job interview after another end in failure.

He said: "After being knocked back for the eighth or ninth time I decided to do something about it."

He heard about a course called the McGuire programme which was the subject of Tuesday's ITV documentary.

It is run by former stammerers who act as coaches and Mr Hancock underwent the same intense process as the stars of the documentary, ultimately becoming a coach himself.

He said: "It began with a four day residential course - 10 to 12 hours a day, full on. It is not a cure but it gives you control. You learn a new way of breathing as well as a process called 'deliberate disfluency', which actually means stammering on purpose which ultimately helps you defeat the fear.

"The toughest thing you have to do is to go onto the street and talk to 100 strangers on the third day of the course, then make a public speech on a soap box."

It paid off. His first interview after taking the course was at Cumberland Lodge. He is still there 11 years later.

He became a McGuire coach himself, is married to Lorna - a children's dance teacher - and is dad to Amber, 6 and Autumn, 4.

The nearest McGuire course to Windsor and Slough is in Wembley between March 14 and 18. Visit for more details, call Matt Wilton 07838 172768 or email Matt.Wilton@Mcguireprogramme.Com