Harpenden stroke victim thanks generous St Albans gym

PUBLISHED: 17:00 26 November 2017 | UPDATED: 09:28 27 November 2017

Alan Hill at the gym. Picture: Nuffield Health

Alan Hill at the gym. Picture: Nuffield Health

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A stroke victim has thanked the generous team at a local gym for helping him back onto his feet.

Alan Hill at the gym. Picture: Nuffield HealthAlan Hill at the gym. Picture: Nuffield Health

Earlier this year, retired Harpenden journalist Alan Hill, 72, suffered a stroke and was left with little use in the left side of his body.

He spent two weeks at Luton and Dunstable University Hospital and five and a half weeks in rehabilitation, but in spite of this treatment he was still reliant on a Zimmer frame.

Alan was told he could eventually recover normal movement but that it might take a long time.

But as he had been a member of Nuffield Health and Fitness Centre in St Albans for 10 years, he was offered six free personal training sessions and one physiotherapy meeting a week to get him walking again: “It felt pretty good, I felt it was a very generous offer.

Alan Hill at the gym. Picture: Nuffield HealthAlan Hill at the gym. Picture: Nuffield Health

“I enjoy it, it’s very much a family club, it’s very friendly, it’s not just a gym.”

Alan can now walk around the house unaided but as he loved to use the gym’s pool, he hopes to keep progressing until he can dive back into swimming regularly.

He said he felt “pretty devastated” in the aftermath of the stroke, but has come on in leaps and bounds since: “I realised there would be no real NHS support when I left rehabilitation.

“But Jenny Dipple, our Nuffield Health manager, told my wife ‘we will look after him.’ She has been true to her word.

“I do three gym sessions a week, one with Jo, two following her instructions. I also do two walking sessions in the pool. My progress has been terrific.

“Gym members I recognise, but do not know personally, keep telling me how well I am progressing.”

He said the advice and encouragement he gets from Jo and physio Mike Fearson is “magnificent”.

Adding: “Onwards is the motto, no time to stand still.”

Strokes happen when blood to the brain is restricted or stopped, and cells begin to die.

Symptoms differ depending on which area of the brain was deprived, but it can cause the face to droop on one side, an inability to smile or lift both arms, dizziness, confusion, and slurred speech.

The Nuffield Health gym is on Highfield Park Drive in St Albans, and offers a 12-Point Health MOT plan where experts create a three month fitness goal strategy for gym-goers to follow. Click here to find out more.

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