A north-east charity boss left paralysed by a mystery illness has spent his first Christmas Day at home with his family in three years.
Last night the family of Robin Maitland said having him back at their Crathes house had been a “milestone” after he spent the past two Christmas Days in hospital.
In December 2014, Mr Maitland underwent surgery to remove a benign tumour on his spine, but awoke unable to feel anything from the chest down. As a result he has been left unable to perform basis day-to-day tasks.
Medical experts concluded he was suffering from a rare condition which causes the spinal cord to become significantly damaged with no chance of recovery.
However, an exact diagnosis has never been pinpointed.
Mr Maitland has spent two years living in both Aberdeen Royal Infirmary and, latterly, Glen O’Dee Hospital in Banchory.
A friend drove him from Glen O’Dee on Christmas Day, where he spent seven hours with his wife, Claire, and children Anna, Harry, Cara and Jack Maitland and daughter-in-law Ava Maitland.
Mrs Maitland last night said her husband had to overcome severe “discomfort” during the visit, but that he had enjoyed being back at the family home.
The Maitlands have helped save thousands of lives through their work with the Sandpiper Trust.
Mrs Maitland said: “It all depended on whether he was well enough to come home and he was well enough. He enjoyed being surrounded by his immediate family, the kids were all here, and the dogs.
“His pain was annoying him, he was in quite a lot of discomfort, but he just was quiet and was happy to be around us for the first time in two years. This is the third Christmas in hospital.
“It was a very, very emotional one. It was a bit of a milestone. It was just nice to have him here. Santa also visited him in the hospital.
“When he was home he was quiet but I think he was just absorbing the fact he was surrounded by the family.”
She added: “People say you should never look back, you have to work with what you have and you look to the future, but you will always wonder what happened. Why did this happen? It is difficulty to live with that. I will always look for answers.”