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VIDEO: ‘We were gobsmacked’: Firm’s kindness frees Kirriemuir stroke victim Robert from prison of his own home

An Angus couple have spoken of the emotion around a local firm’s generous gesture which has freed a wheelchair-bound stroke victim from the “prison” of his own home.

More than a decade ago, 62-year-old Robert Carrie suffered a massive stroke which doctors said he was lucky to survive.

The super-fit marathon runner lay for a day on the bedroom floor of his home in the village of Maryton, near Kirriemuir before being found by his wife, Maureen.

He spent more than two years in hospital and had to learn basic tasks all over again.

Robert Carrie was a keen marathon runner before a massive stroke at the age of just 48.

Medics said his level of fitness prior to the stroke had probably saved him.

Recently, the red-brick cottage where Robert has lived nearly all his life was extended as the couple struggled with the stresses of the pandemic.

But instead of new-found enjoyment, their daily life became a nightmare after the outside area was left a no-go zone for Robert, who previously ran seven marathons including London, Athens and Toronto.

The extension work left Robert effectively trapped in his own home. Pic: Maureen Carrie.

Kind friends Ann MacDonald and Lesley McVicar set up a crowdfunder to help the couple complete the project and sort out their drive and garden area.

It quickly received generous support – but nothing prepared Maureen and Robert for the kindness of Kirrie-based civil engineering business Delson Contracts, owned by well-known Angus couple Bruce and Helen Stott.

Tears of joy

Maureen, 59, explained: “After the crowdfunder was set up Ann got a message from Helen to say the firm would like to help out by providing materials and a donation.

“Ann and I were both crying, I couldn’t believe it.”

But Maureen revealed the firm’s generosity extended way beyond what they initially promised.

“The following day we were having a meeting about a sponsored walk for the crowdfunder when the bell rang and it was Bruce and once of his directors from Delson.

“They had decided just to do the whole job for us and said ‘we’re just going to start on Monday’.

“I was absolutely gobsmacked, I just couldn’t believe it.”

Delson Contracts workers David Brown and Willie ‘Hen’ Miller spent a fortnight at the Forfar Road cottage to complete the outside area and transform life for the couple.

Maureen and Robert Carrie with (back from left) Helen Stott, Lesley McVicar and Ann MacDonald. Pic: Kim Cessford/DCT Media.

Maureen continued: “We just felt that the house was a bit claustrophobic, because of Covid as much as anything.

“The extension gave us the extra room but outside was just a mess.

“Robert couldn’t really get out at all and it was becoming quite dangerous for him.

“He was essentially a prisoner in his own home and it was really stressful for us.”

She added: “I look out now and cannot believe that this has happened.

Robert now has level access to the garden of his lifelong home. Pic: Kim Cessford/DCT Media.

“Neither Robert or I will ever be able to repay the generosity Bruce and Helen have shown us, it is just a wonderful thing they have done.”

Sports centre memories

Mrs Stott said that when she saw a Facebook post for the crowdfunder she remembered Robert from his time as a coach at Brechin Sports Centre.

She added: “Bruce and I were regular visitors to the centre when our four children were younger and the business was at that time based in Brechin.

“We just wanted to do something to help by carrying out the work to make the garden accessible for Robert so he can spent time outdoors in a safe and tranquil environment.”

Ann MacDonald (right) with Lesley McVicar wearing a t-shirt from the weekend walk. Pic: Kim Cessford/DCT Media.

Marathon walk

The crowdfunder, which currently sits at almost £1,400 also received a weekend boost from the marathon-distance sponsored walk on rural roads around Kirrie completed by Ann MacDonald, Lesley McVicar, Janey Cheyne, Donna Brown and Lorna Black.

Early next month, Kirrie cyclist Gillian Ramsay is taking on a gruelling Audax UK 125-mile event for the cause.

Donations can be made here.

Maureen added: “There was also an anonymous donation of £440 which doubled the amount which was in the crowdfunder at that point.

“We are so grateful for what everybody has done, but especially Delson Contracts – every time I go to the door and look out I am in a daydream.”