JUST 18 months ago Robert Beckwith suffered a stroke which left him unable to do many of his favourite things, including cycling.
But now he’s decided to get back in the saddle for the first time to take part in the British Heart Foundation’s Round the Harbours bike ride.
The 68-year-old, of Tedder Road, Gosport, signed up to the challenge in a bid to restore his former fitness levels before the stroke.
‘I miss the level of fitness I had before the stroke,’ Robert said. ‘I was quite sporty for my age and used to go to the gym regularly as well as go running and cycling.
‘And now I can’t do any of that which is quite frustrating.
‘But it’s been 18 months – it’s time I did something.’
Robert, who works at the Royal Navy Command Headquarters, said at first he did not realise he was having a stoke.
‘I was going to fill up my bird table in the garden and went to step over a small fence, but I couldn’t move my leg,’ he said.
‘Then I fell backwards and couldn’t move.
‘I had no sensation in my legs and I was the only one in the house at the time so I had to just lie there, waiting.
‘I knew something serious was wrong, but I didn’t know what it was and I was thinking “how am I going to get out of this one?”
‘After about 45 minutes the sensation came back and I went into the house and packed an overnight bag to go to hospital.’
Robert spent 12 days recovering at Queen Alexandra Hospital before resting at home.
And he now feels ready for a sporting challenge for the first time and has been building up his fitness levels gradually in preparation for the ride.
‘Each time I go out I try to increase the distance a little bit more and just take it in stages,’ he added.
‘I have good and bad days but it’s getting better. It still takes me a lot to get going in the morning, but I’ve learned just to ride the crest.’
The News is calling on readers to join Robert and take part in the ride this Sunday to help the charity reach its target of 2,012 participants.
To sign up call 0808 100 2109, email firstname.lastname@example.org or log on to bhf.org.uk/roundtheharbours.
Fees in advance are £15 for an adult or £7.50 per child.
Entry on the day costs £20 for adults and £10 for children.