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Kingston-upon-Thames stroke survivor set to tackle Thames Bridges Bike Ride

Press Release   •   Aug 17, 2017 11:44 BST

A Kingston-upon-Thames stroke survivor is gearing up to take part in the Stroke Association’s Thames Bridges Bike Ride on Sunday 01 October.

Neil Irvine, 47, from Chessington, had a stroke in February this year. One morning, Neil felt woke up feeling dizzy. Neil managed to get stand up but the room started to spin again.

Neil said: “I remember thinking that what was happening to me could be a stroke. I told my wife and she quickly dialled 999. Unfortunately the emergency service didn’t come out, but as time went on we knew something wasn’t right so my wife took me to hospital.

“I count myself very lucky in that it only effected my balance and hadn't effected my speech or one side of my body, like so many of the other people that have a stroke.

“I was in hospital for four days in total, each day there I pushed myself to get back on my feet. I still get a little light headed every now and again during the day, and sometimes I have a few dizzy spells.

“After four months I bought myself a bike to see if this would improve my balance further – and I now can't get off it! I enjoy every moment on the bike, and I push myself and exercise around five times a week. I can now manage to ride around 20 miles, but I'm hoping to improve on that. This is one of the reasons why I entered the Thames Bridges Bike Ride. I’m taking on the 35 mile route, I thought that if I set myself a goal then it would give me an incentive to push further.

“I know first-hand what it's like to have a stroke, and also to witness one. Four days after I'd had my stroke my best friend also had a stroke. I never really understood about stroke until I experienced it myself, and wouldn't wish it on anyone. I’m now doing all I can to help raise awareness and vital funds for the charity. This is quite a big challenge for me following my stroke, but I know I’ll feel so proud when I make it to the finish line.”

Thames Bridges Bike Ride 2017 will start at Kings House Sports Ground in Chiswick and participants can take part in a 55, 35 or eight-mile circular route. Each route will lead cyclists through London; taking in world-famous landmarks, crossing iconic and beautiful Thames Bridges.

Emma Evans, Events Manager at the Stroke Association, said: “With around 1.2 million people across the UK living with the devastating impact of stroke, it is vital that we have people like Neil at our Thames Bridges Bike Ride to raise funds and help us conquer stroke. The money raised will fund vital research and support for stroke survivors, as well as help to prevent people from having a stroke.

“We’re delighted that Neil l has made such a great recovery from his stroke and is taking on the challenge for us. Thames Bridges Bike Ride is always such a fun event, we’re really looking forward to cheering on all the cyclists as they ride through London.”

Thames Bridges Bike Ride will take place on Sunday 01 October 2017. The bike ride will start at alongside the Thames at Kings House Sports Ground. Supporters can take part in our eight, 35 or 55 mile route. For more information, please visit: www.stroke.org.uk/TBBR

To sponsor Neil, please visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/nirv


  • A stroke is a brain attack which happens when the blood supply to the brain is cut off, caused by a clot or bleeding in the brain. There are more than 100,000 strokes in the UK each year; that is around one stroke every five minutes. There are over 1.2 million people in the UK living with the effects of stroke. 
  • Stroke Association is a charity. We believe in life after stroke and together we can conquer stroke. We work directly with stroke survivors and their families and carers, with health and social care professionals and with scientists and researchers. We campaign to improve stroke care and support people to make the best recovery they can. We fund research to develop new treatments and ways of preventing stroke. The Stroke Helpline (0303 303 3100) provides information and support on stroke. More information can be found at www.stroke.org.uk