Competitive Robert wins stroke courage award

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Robert Harvey has been a sportsman all his life, and is still performing archery, bowls and swimming at the age of 81.

Six years ago, however, as he was turning into his 61st lap of the pool at the Cardrona Hotel, his whole body stopped working.

He’d had a stroke and had to be pulled out of the pool and rushed to the Borders General Hospital at Melrose.

The stroke left him unable to walk, talk clearly or recognise people.

And to make matters worse, he began to lose the use of his right eye after losing his left when an earlier cataract operation went wrong.

Now registered blind, the former professional junior footballer at Manchester United still refused to take a back seat and worked his way back to fitness.

He has since also learned how to bake and regularly organises coffee mornings and bake sales. He has gone back to gardening and trained for and completed a 55-mile tandem ride in the Borders.

He said: “I’ve been active all my life, and if I can’t do something competitive, I would not be happy.”

A neighbour, Hilde Paxton nominated him for honours at awards held by the Stroke Association, and he won the adult courage category.

He said: “I was quite pleased to receive the award.

“It came as a complete surprise.”

Angela McLeod, of the stroke charity, said: “Robert has taken the positives in life to embrace a variety of new experiences and helping others in similar situations along the way.”