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Stroke survivor gives back by volunteering

Personal experience of a stroke and her own recovery was the prompt for Heather Robb to volunteer her time with Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland.

The 66-year-old lives in Alves, near Elgin in Moray. A former day house matron at Gordonstoun, the prestigious public school patronised by the Royal Family, she suffered a stroke in August 2017.

Describing herself as one of the lucky ones who made a good recovery from a condition that can be devastating, Heather decided she wanted to help others in the same boat. Now she has two voluntary roles with Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland – working in the charity’s shop in Forres one morning a week and providing help at a weekly aphasia support group.

The road to recovery

Heather, a mum of two daughters and gran to four grandsons, says: “I consider myself one of the lucky ones. I initially lost all sensation on my right side and had to learn to walk again.

“It did take a while to get my mobility back, but my little Scottie dog Morag was only six months old at the time and, as my husband was working in India, I had to take her out. So I started going for very short walks with Morag, then a little bit further and now we walk all over the place.

“I was no longer working so I decided I needed to do something else, and volunteering with Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland seemed the perfect fit. I know what people who have had a stroke are going through – I went through it myself, so I can empathise.”

A worthwhile thing to do

Heather spends Tuesday mornings in the Forres shop and is a volunteer at the Moray aphasia support group, which is now meeting in person again after two years of pandemic restrictions.

Of her roles, she says: “I like the variety. The shop is great because I get to see the amazing things people donate – we get a lot of designer clothes, and that really helps the shop.

“The support group is also great because it’s so nice to meet people and hear their stories. We get out and about in the community, meeting in coffee shops and in the restaurant at the college in Elgin. We have a good blether – and it gets me out of the house, too!

“Volunteering gives me such a sense of satisfaction. I love seeing people progressing and their speech coming on. It’s such a worthwhile thing to do.”

To discover more about volunteering with us and find volunteering opportunities in your local area, please visit: chss.org.uk/volunteering

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