Ian is a volunteer for a communication support group run by the Stroke Association and he has started running a gardening club for members of the group. This has all come about because he found a way to enjoy gardening again after he had his stroke.

The photo was taken by Muir Vidler for an article in The Times newspaper

Ian tells us his story:

“In 1995 I had a severe stroke. Until then I had been fit, strong and healthy, working for myself as a landscape gardener. After more than three months in hospital my outlook on life was bleak, and my future seemed non-existent, until an occupational therapist introduced me to Slob.

“I came out of hospital after 3 and a half months, to my wife and two children who were then aged nine and two. I was unable to do anything for myself and had weak slurred speech. I had a mixture of anger, pain and frustration, and a definite lack of confidence and lack of self-esteem building up inside of me. I simply did not think there was any way that I could garden again with only one functioning hand.

“Going to Slob meant I was back in an environment that I understood and had some expertise in. The first day I visited the garden I walked further than I’d managed since the stroke and I felt very happy.

"Four years after my stroke I was nominated for and won a ‘Life after stroke’ award, which is a scheme run by the Stroke Association. This was for the way I rebuilt my life within the community. I keep the award, which is a sculpture of a butterfly made by a previous award winner, next to my computer where I can see it to remind me how far I’ve come.

“I am now a firm believer that therapy through gardening is a powerful tool. It helped me to accept the fact that I had suffered a stroke and come to terms with it. It helped me to learn to live again.”