Councillor offers ‘supercharged’ thanks for NHS following stroke

Coun Richard Austin. EMN-180802-145555001
Coun Richard Austin. EMN-180802-145555001

A councillor has thanked medical staff who have given him a new lease of life after he suffered a serious stroke - saying he is now ‘supercharged’.

Wyberton ward Coun Richard Austin, 81, suffered a paralysing stroke which necessitated a two-and-a-half hour operation just a few weeks ago.

Surgeons at the Pilgrim Hospital operated on his neck to open up his carotid artery to improve the flow of blood to his brain after he suffered multiple haemorrhages.

He had been working at home on his i-Pad when he collapsed to the floor after getting up from his desk.

He said at first he couldn’t understand why his left leg would not work and then thought he may have suffered a stroke when he found he could not move his left arm either.

Fortunately his wife, Alison, a borough and county councillor, was at home and called for an ambulance.

“If it had been the day before I could be in a wheelchair now,” said Richard.

“I had been at home alone all day working in the garden.”

During the operation, which took place under local anaesthetic, Coun Austin was told to continue talking throughout the operation as surgeons opened up his neck and artery.

“With the anaesthetic it was like trying to talk when your mouth has been frozen at the dentist.

“I bored the nurses to death talking about my family, my life story, my passions, the church, Boston Woods, the Boston marathon which I chair and the history of Boston.

“I didn’t quite get to the end of everything I had in mind,” he joked.

Coun Austin, who celebrated his 80th birthday with a daredevil skydive, praised the surgeons and staff at the Pilgrim, who he said were marvellous.

“They have improved the blood flow to my brain, so now I am supercharged,” he said.

After a four-day stay in hospital, and a 28-day driving ban, he has been declared fighting fit and is back to normal, with just a fading telltale scar down the side of his neck.

“My stroke came on very suddenly, but it demonstrates that when this happens and a stroke is suspected, you don’t hang around.

“This is a 999 emergency because time is of the essence.

“I was very lucky.”

Public Health England (PHE) last week launched the Act F.A.S.T. stroke campaign in the East Midlands which urged the public to call 999 if they notice even one of the signs of a stroke:

Face – has their face fallen on one side? Can they smile?

Arms – can they raise both their arms and keep them there?

Speech – is their speech slurred?

Time – time to call 999

It followed the release of figures which showed that in England, one in six people will have a stroke in their lifetime.

Current figures show there are just under 92,000 people on GP registers in the East Midlands who have had a stroke, and in 2016 just over 2,500 people died from a stroke.

Boston Marathon has seen off a challengeto its claim that it is the flattest marathon in the world.

Manchester Marathon organisers said their course only reached a maximum elevation of 90ft.

However, the Boston Marathon, only reaches a height of 11.2 feet!

Boston Marathon, which claims to be the flattest marathon in the world, takes place on Sunday, April 15, and is popular with runners who, with an absence of hills, record their personal best times.

It’s also the lowest marathon in the world – at sea level – with lots of good, clean air for deep-breathing athletes.

Organising committee chairman Richard Austin said: “It could also be the fastest marathon in the world. There is every possibility that the right runner could record a world record time here.

“We welcome any world-class runner keen to put themselves into the record books.”

There is still time for runners to register – the deadline is March 27. Register at