Less than two years after each lost a leg in an accident in Melrose, Maureen and Steven Matthews have completed a three-mile sponsored walk.
The couple were pinned against a wall at the George & Abbotsford Hotel by a reversing car in early December 2012.
They sustained serious injuries, both external and internal, which resulted in them both having a leg amputated. The Duns couple were in hospital for nearly seven months – but after more than a year of operations, intense rehab and gruelling physio, they managed to walk again.
Not content with taking a few steps, they completed a sponsored walk last weekend in aid of Borders General Hospital, who Maureen credits with saving their lives in the aftermath of the accident.
Their original plan was to begin the walk from their old family home in Preston, which they had to give up as they could no longer climb the stairs. But after being advised against this on health and safety grounds, the start of the walk was switched to Gavinton football pitch.
It ended at the Matthews’ new bungalow in Station Court where they were greeted by well-wishers, a few of whom were reduced to tears as Maureen and Steven came into view.
Maureen then did something that only she, Steven, son Robert and friend and photographer Billy Gillie knew about. She walked the final steps to the finish line without her sticks.
She said: “I cried like a baby at the end. The walk was a very hard thing for us to do, but I felt I had to give something back to the people at Borders General Hospital.
“We obviously weren’t in a good situation, but they saved our lives and stabilised us, so we could be taken up to the Royal in Edinburgh where we spent three weeks before going back to the BGH.
“When I first suggested doing a sponsored event, someone asked me what I had in mind and, sitting in a hospital bed with half a leg, but a big smile on my face, I said ‘a sponsored walk’.
“People couldn’t believe it. They were absolutely gobsmacked, but I was so determined to do it.”
Maureen and Steven originally set themselves a fundraising target of £1,000 – but have now doubled it with collection boxes and sponsor forms still to come in.
Maureen added: “I never, ever expected to raise so much. The way I see it we’ve got a second chance at life. They didn’t think I would make it through the night after the accident, so I’m just grateful I’m here.”