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​Worcester Park stroke survivor pays tribute to local charity after amazing recovery

Press Release   •   Aug 13, 2015 10:00 BST

A local Worcester Park resident who was left completely paralysed down one side after a stroke, is today payingtribute to the Stroke Association in Sutton for helping him to make a dramatic recovery.

Retired Civil Engineer David MacCallum (60) had a devastating stroke last year whilst on holiday in Spain. David, who was staying with friends at the time, was badly injured after falling down a set of steps, breaking his ankle and elbow, dislocating his shoulder, and hitting his head.

After his stroke, David attended the Stroke Association’s weekly swimming group at Westcroft Leisure Centre in Wallington. Attending the lessons each week has transformed David’s life, as he has regained much of the strength and mobility in the left side of his body.

David said: “My wife and I regularly go to Spain, but on this trip I had gone alone. On the morning of my stroke, I’d gone to the back door as I would every morning after putting the kettle on. I’d dropped the back door keys on the floor, and couldn’t understand why I found it really difficult to pick them up. This is when I turned to go back to my room, but fell to the floor. I remember trying to move my legs, but couldn’t. Thankfully, I had my mobile phone in my pyjama trousers, and I managed to call my neighbour for help.”

David spent almost two months in hospital in Spain before travelling back home to the UK. David explains: “Luckily I can speak Spanish, so I was able to communicate with the doctors and nurses.Initially I went to a local health centre, and then to a local hospital, and finally to a neurological hospital, where they performed a CT scan and confirmed I’d had a stroke. My wife came out to Spain and stayed with me until I was able to leave the hospital at the end of December. It was a frightening time for me because I’d always led a very fit and active lifestyle. It was a huge shock to come home unable to walk or move my arm.”

David adds, “Along with my ARNI (Action for Rehabilitation from Neurological Injury) exercise regime, I have seen a dramatic difference in my health and strength since I’ve been attending the swimming groups. Swimming has definitely helped in my recovery, and I am extremely grateful for the Stroke Association’s help with this. I would say to all stroke survivors that, where possible, they must try and attend hydrotherapy – it could make a real difference.”

Gavin Hughes, Stroke Association Coordinator in Sutton said: “It’s been wonderful to see David’s improvement week on week with his rehabilitation since joining our swimming group. He’s a very determined man, and his hard work has definitely paid off. A stroke strikes every three and a half minutes in the UK and over half of stroke survivors are left with a disability. Our swimming groups have proven to be a key part of the stroke community in the London Borough of Sutton, helping local stroke survivors on their road to recovery.”

For more information about the Stroke Association’s support in the London Borough of Sutton, please contact Gavin Hughes on 020 8648 8144 or email

For more information about stroke, visit call the helpline on 0303 3033 100.

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 around 152,000 strokes in the UK every year and it is the leading cause of severe adult disability. 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