Inverurie Stroke Group gets hi tech help from local fundraising hero

Sheer determination and a will to succeed drove Inverurie man Willie Linklater to cycle the distance from Land’s End to John O’ Groats to raise funds for a local stroke group.

By Dawn Renton
Wednesday, 8th June 2022, 12:24 pm
Updated Wednesday, 8th June 2022, 12:24 pm
Willie Linklater's fundraising achievements as helped the Exercise After Stroke Club Inverurie
Willie Linklater's fundraising achievements as helped the Exercise After Stroke Club Inverurie

This was despite the fact that Willie, 59, suffered a debilitating stroke himself three years ago and had to battle back to fitness to complete the challenge.

Last July, Willie started his epic trip, completing the full 1,084 miles over 39 days, cycling around Inverurie and the Moray Coast and raising more than £2000 – well above his initial £1000 GOFUND ME target.

Willie said: “Following my stroke in 2019, I attended a special stroke exercise class although COVID unfortunately stopped the sessions.

"However, it showed me the positive effect that such dedicated sessions had on my rehabilitation both physical and socially.

“I wanted to raise funds for the Exercise After Stroke Inverurie group ( EASI) which is self- funding and their mission is to provide structured, evidence-based exercise for stroke survivors. I felt I wanted to give something back and the cycling challenge was the best way to do that.”

On Tuesday, May 31, Willie attended the Inverurie Stroke Group’s regular afternoon session at St Mary’s church hall and saw for himself the new hi tech equipment his funds have bought.

The innovative ‘FitMi’ therapy programme is an interactive tool for stroke patients which provides a variety of exercises for hands and feet. It aims to improve hand, arm and leg mobility after a stroke.

Sue Leftwich, the Instructor for the Inverurie Stroke Group had the idea to buy the new computer tool.

She said: “It’s proving a big hit with our group. It’s fun and interactive and we can’t thank Willie enough for helping provide us with the funds for such a great piece of equipment.”

Willie’s path to cycling fitness after his stroke was gruelling and he credits his physio Jenny McKenzie for motivating him to succeed. He was an active cyclist before his stroke but had to re-learn to ride.

"I used stabilisers for a week then we took them off! After an apprehensive start I began building up distance.”

So will there be another challenge in the offing?

"Never say never!” Willie said.