More members wanted for Sidmouth Stroke Survivors

PUBLISHED: 17:24 16 January 2009 | UPDATED: 12:16 17 June 2010

IT IS little more than a year since Terry Hounsom launched Sidmouth Stroke Survivors self-help group maximising people s recovery from the disabling effects of a stroke. For an hour each Monday afternoon, nine people, most over retirement age, join the a

IT IS little more than a year since Terry Hounsom launched Sidmouth Stroke Survivors self-help group maximising people's recovery from the disabling effects of a stroke.

For an hour each Monday afternoon, nine people, most over retirement age, join the aerobics exercise class supervised by Nicky Rendell, health and recreation officer for Sidmouth Sports Centre and swimming pool.

Founded by Terry in October 2007, who survived a massive brain haemorrhage when he was 50, SSS is a unique life-line to stroke sufferers in the Sidmouth area. One couple drive from Hemyock each week to attend.

Working out to lively music in a squash court at the sports centre, Terry said: "No member is expected to do any more than he or she is comfortable with.

"The name of the group reflects its positive attitude towards stroke recovery in that we consider ourselves survivors, not victims of the debilitating effects of stroke.

"The effects range from hemiplegia, loss of balance, vulnerability to pulmonary illnesses, depression and loss of confidence."

Open to stroke survivors of all ages, he is keen to increase the number of younger members.

The session begins with a warm up led by Nicky. Exercises are done on a rotating station system with alternate standing, sitting routines including steps, lifting aerobic dumbbells, canoeing (from a chair), stretching and ball exercises.

"We help people with cardio-vascular exercise, because some are wary about what they can do, co-ordination and muscular strengthening for upper body and lower body," said Nicky.

Keith Roberts, 63, a former rugby player and PE teacher at Sidmouth College, had a stroke 14 years ago and cannot feel anything down his right side.

One of the first to join Terry's group he said: "When you have a stroke you have to come to terms with that change and work out a way to keep going."

Anne Riggs, 72, had a stroke 18 months ago and has been a member of SSS for about eight months.

From Hemyock, husband John brings her and joins in with the exercises "to help me feel loosened up."

Anne added: "I wouldn't mind if I go somewhere every day to get the use of my leg back."

Margaret Connell, 89, from Sidmouth, feels it is good to make the effort to exercise and describes the group as "very nice and pleasant. Everyone is friendly and very helpful and deals with people with the same trouble as yourself."

David Mason is a caring assistant for his wife Eve and helps bring anyone unable to get to the class.

He said: "Transport is not a problem. This is a really good little group and helpful to people not only physically but mentally."

Anyone interested in joining the group, which costs £2.50 a week, should contact Terry on (01395) 576736.


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Sidmouth Herald. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Sidmouth Herald