A MAN who had a stroke at 29 has told of his recovery struggle as he prepares for a Halloween fundraiser at the gym where he worked to regain health.

Matt Watson, of Hove, who is now 47, described the “debilitating shock” of being struck down by a stroke so early in his life.

He said: “I was a media professional working in London, living an independent life, and within 30 seconds that was all taken away from me.

“It was completely devastating.

“To begin with it was very difficult to see a way out.

“However, staff at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery helped me through the first three months, and from there I was able to begin my rehabilitation. It is undoubtedly due to the immediate and intensive treatment that I received at the National that I am leading a relatively normal life today.”

Matt told The Argus of the challenges he has faced since suffering his stroke.

He said: “It’s been a gruelling recovery and even 18 years later there are still effects that manifest themselves. When I went in to hospital I was completely paralysed down the right side of my body, unable to speak, stand or swallow.

“I’ve had to fight for it every step of the way, and I still need to be really vigilant to make sure that I keep

up my fitness and excercise levels.”

To mark the 18th anniversary of his stroke, Matt is to take part in a day of fundraising on October 31 at the Alive gym in Castle Street, Brighton, where he works with personal trainer Jenny Dunne to continue his recovery.

The gym will host a full day of Halloween-themed fitness classes, all of which

he intends to take part in, as well as a raffle and a cake sale.

All the proceeds going to the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in London, which treated Matt immediately after his stroke.

He said: “This is me giving back to the hospital who did so much for me.

“They do such fantastic work, both in treatment and research, and I just hope that this day of activities can raise a little bit of money to help them keep on doing what they are doing.

“I also have to thank everyone at Alive gym.

“They are all great and have also helped me, and everyone is giving their time for free for the event.”