An “amazing” team of surgeons, doctors, nurses and therapists saved the voice of sports commentator Martin Tyler – and a career that has spanned more than 50 years to date.

The prospect of losing your voice forever is frightening – especially when it has made you a living, as it has in Martin’s case.

But after two operations at St George’s Hospital in South West London and a course of speech therapy later, the 78-year-old is back at work and on prime-time TV once again.

Martin said his problems with his voice began after the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

Recalling when he lost his voice, Martin said: “I overused my voice and the climate in Qatar affected my cords so I realised I needed help.

“My voice is my identity but the thought of not working again wasn’t the worst part of it, not being able to socialise was a real prospect.

“Not being able to answer the phone, go for coffee with friend and only talking to those who were very close me was frightening.

“I’ve had a very long career so losing my living had financial implications, but it was the loss of socialising that hit me.

“When I lost my voice I had to go to a few events and it was very difficult. I either had to hide my condition or reveal to people I was close to and who I trusted.”

When Martin returned to the UK from Qatar he was referred to St George’s and underwent an exploratory operation where doctors found Keratosis on his larynx.

This is a growth of keratin, which is usually seen on skin and hair, and could have caused permanent damage to Martin’s vocal chords.

Martin underwent a second operation to treat his Keratosis, which was a success, but he needed help to get his voice back. This is where the speech and language voice therapy team at St George’s stepped in.

Martin was assigned Elissa Finn as his speech therapist and can’t praise her enough.

“Elissa was amazing,” he said.

“I have had a very fortunate life but this was the roughest time for me.

“It was by far the worst. Elissa saw me at my best and she saw me at my worst. I couldn’t have asked for more from Elissa and from everyone else.”

Martin has spoken about his journey to mark World Voice Day on 16 April, which is celebrated across the globe and aims to highlight the importance of the voice and increase awareness of voice problems.

He said: “I cannot be more grateful to how I was treated at St George’s. They are wonderful people at looking after patients’ best interests. I am really grateful for their care.

“I was treated splendidly with care and with humour, which is very important to keep your spirits up.

“Since my treatment I have done 40 commentaries. It’s a miracle.

“Before the first operation I told people I had hay fever which had affected my life. I said this because I didn’t want anyone feeling sorry for me.

“One thing I must say is I was never in pain from the first diagnosis. I was never in any pain.”

“It (my voice) didn’t mean anything to me before, but it now means to me not taking my voice for granted.

“The loss of my voice and the potential of losing it forever was the worst-case scenario.”

Arlene Wellman MBE, Group Chief Nursing Officer, said: “It’s fantastic to hear the positive impact that speech therapist Elissa has had in helping to transform Martin’s life by supporting him in getting his voice back.

“The care our team of therapists, nurses and doctors provide is unparalleled and I’m so pleased that Martin had such a positive experience and wish him well.

“I hope this inspires more therapists to work for the NHS and improve people’s lives.”

Elissa added: “It was an absolute pleasure to work with Martin. It’s wonderful and rewarding when, as speech and language therapists, we hear the impact our voice exercises have.”

Now back at work and happier than ever, Martin said: “You know not to take your voice for granted once something like this happens to you.

“Relish your voice: sing, talk, communicate and respect that it’s a part of your body that needs attention. Hydrate it.”