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Inspirational Nairn stroke survivor takes on new challenge to raise money for charity

Douglas Sewell
Douglas Sewell

Douglas Sewell is an inspirational advertisement for the health benefits of exercise.

The double stroke survivor will undertake his latest fundraising adventure this month when he will kayak across Loch Lochy in the Great Glen before scaling the 3,012ft high Munro Meall na Teanga.

Since his strokes, in 2003 and 2010, Mr Sewell, 63, from Nairn, has become deeply involved with the work of Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland.

As well as being a fundraiser, he is a trustee of the charity, a volunteer and an active member of working groups.

His exploits have included walking the length of Scotland, some 536 miles, and last year completing the charity’s virtual May Munro Challenge.

This time, after his loch crossing, he will be scaling the mountain for real with his twin brother Bruce over the challenge weekend of May 28-30, weather permitting.

Douglas Sewell taking part in the 2019 Etape Loch Ness cycle event

He said: “I’ve been inspired by armed forces’ veterans who have returned from Afghanistan or Iraq and have raised money and helped others despite their own injuries.

“I hope to raise money for Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland, but the most important aspect of this challenge is to highlight the health benefits of exercise.

“From my own experience, I know how important physical exercise is to recovery. I want to provide people with our conditions with the information and opportunity to engage in physical exercise to improve their health and wellbeing.

“I want to raise as much money as possible, but this challenge is more about raising awareness. I want people to understand how fitness can save lives. That’s the most important message.”

Encouraging people to exercise more

Mr Sewell’s stroke in 2010 left him unable to walk, talk or eat. But in 2019 he completed the Scottish National Trail as well as the Etape Loch Ness cycle marathon, and last year joined hundreds of stroke survivors to conquer all of Scotland’s 282 Munros as part of the virtual Munro challenge.

This year he hopes to take part in the Aviemore 100, a cycling challenge including road and off-road mountain biking, which had to be cancelled last year due to Covid restrictions.

He also supports the charity’s Spring into Summer campaign, which runs until May 31 and is aimed at encouraging people to take more exercise.

“I’m on the physical activity steering group, which I think is very important. The Spring into Summer initiative, which gets people to increase their physical activity for two months, is a great idea.

Douglas Sewell kayaking at Hoy, Orkney

“I’ve set a target of doing 10,000 steps every day over the two months. I do pilates twice a week and weight training, too. I also do road cycling and mountain biking, depending on the weather.

“Everyone with our conditions can be helped with the right support, and I’m no different.”

Megan McFarlane, Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland’s community and events fundraiser, said: “Douglas is such an inspiration to us and other stroke survivors. It’s amazing that he is taking on the May Munro challenge again this year, then adding his own twist with that extra challenge, he is just incredible.

“At Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland we believe that there should be no life half lived and Douglas certainly lives up to that.  I’d like to thank him for all his amazing efforts to raise funds and awareness to help other stroke survivors and their families.”

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