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Stroke victim Bert’s award for bravery
A CAMPAIGNER for the disabled who has survived five strokes and seven heart attacks has been honoured for his bravery.
Bert Goodbourn, 79, was thrilled to receive the adult courage award, at the Stroke Association’s annual Life After Stroke awards.
He had his first stroke in 2001 and was left paralysed down his left side. He has been in a wheelchair since.
His world was rocked again when just weeks after his stroke, his wife Lilly-Anne suddenly died.
Despite the devastating blow, he carried on, first raising funds for Southend Hospital and then devoting his time to setting up a support group for disabled people called the Village.
He has also raised more than £15,000 by selling paintings and organising several fundraising events. Mr Goodbourn, a former Leigh town councillor, said: “I wanted to keep jumping out of planes, but the heart doctors wouldn’t let me. So instead, I took up wheelchair dancing and began organising activities for disabled people.”
Now the Village, based at the Avro Centre, in Avro Road, Eastwood, has more than 60 members. It organises activities including wheelchair dancing, bowling, archery and trips.
The group, supported by funding from former Southend mayor Ann Holland’s fundraising campaign, encourages people to develop their mobility and communication and works closely with the local stroke club.
Mr Goodbourn said: “I have met many people who didn’t think they could do things like go bowling in a wheelchair, but I would say, ‘why don’t you just try it?’ You never know ‘til you try.”
He also volunteers on an intensive rehab scheme that got him walking for the first time in nine years. The team were so impressed with his willingness and enthusiasm he now gives them tips on how to improve the course and motivate other patients.
David Beale, secretary of the Southend stroke group, who nominated him for the award, said: “The work Bert has put into his project is an achievement in itself. In the past 11 years he has overcome the strokes, heart attacks and a diagnosis of cancer, for which he is still having regular treatment. It is inspiring to see none of this has stopped him. He is an inspiration to many.”
A short film on each of the winners including Mr Goodbourn can be found at www. stroke.org.uk/lasa