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Compton stroke survivor makes NHS charity splash

Ian Shaw, a digital consultant from Compton, suffered a stroke at his daughter's Taekwondo class last year.

Paramedics arrived at the scene within 15 minutes, saving his life. Mr Shaw received treatment at Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading, and was then moved to John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.

And now he is thanking the NHS for aiding his recovery by taking on a taxing 30 day challenge.

Ian Shaw, preparing for his daily swim at Bradfield College sports centre
Ian Shaw, preparing for his daily swim at Bradfield College sports centre

On April 11, Mr Shaw pledged to swim 30k in 30 days, roughly one to 1.5k a day, to raise money for the West Berks Community Hospital League of Friends charity, of which he is now a trustee.

He has already achieved his £1,500 fundraising target — and is not yet halfway through his challenge.

Mr Shaw's recovery took months and, with no professional sports background, the challenge has been the ultimate test of his strength and endurance.

Newburytoday spoke to Mr Shaw yesterday (Monday, April 17) on a much-needed rest day.

"I've done 9k now for the last six days," he said. "So far, so good.

"My rehab was relatively fast; it took around three months after the stroke. It was then a case of getting stronger and ramping up the exercise gradually to the point where I felt somewhat back to normal.

"I'm still not 100 per cent and I don't think I ever will be."

Mr Shaw fits his training around work and family commitments, swimming in the mornings and evenings at Bradfield College sports centre.

He credits Gavin McLaughlin as his inspiration for the challenge. Mr McLaughlin, from Hampstead Norreys, is a stroke survivor and triathlete who raised thousands for WBCH in 2021, whose neuro rehabilitation team was instrumental in nurturing him back to health.

"I wanted to do something for the NHS, having got really excellent care from all the different places I had my rehab at," added Mr Shaw.

"I do quite a lot of swimming as part of my rehab, so I wanted to do something that was a bit of challenge and would get people to donate."

Chairman of WBCH League of Friends, Stuart Stephens, said: "We are incredibly grateful for the support and effort in raising funds for WBCHLOF to enable us to continue providing vital equipment for the hospital."

Please visit www.gofundme.com/f/swim-for-the-league-of-friends to donate to Mr Shaw's GoFundMe page.

The League of Friends is entirely volunteer led and raises money to provide services and equipment for WBCH. Examples of their work includes kitting out the physiotherapy room with the latest equipment for stroke survivors and many other patients.

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