A dad has backed a national campaign urging people to have their blood pressure checked.
Stephen Blakelock, 48, from Easington, who survived a stroke in 2007 caused by high blood pressure, is backing the campaign by the Stroke Association.
Dad-of-two and self-employed tiler Stephen, had been experiencing migraines for about a year before his stroke.
He was in his car at the shopping centre when he had a headache and felt a tingling sensation in the left hand side of his face.
The tingling spread to the left side of his body, before he collapsed.
After six weeks in hospital, Stephen had to learn to walk again.
The stroke affected his left side, leaving him with constant pins and needles, meaning he was unable to return to work in his physical role.
Stephen now supports the Stroke Association fundraising team in Gateshead and is retraining as an accountancy technician.
He said: “Apart from my migraines, I didn’t experience any symptoms before my stroke and didn’t feel unwell, so was completely unaware I had high blood pressure.
“I would encourage everyone to monitor their blood pressure and have regular checks. I’d also advise people to take other steps to keep your blood pressure under control, such as taking regular exercise, cutting back on salt and a healthy diet.”
To find out more, visit www.stroke.org.uk/kybp. Free blood pressure tests can also be arranged through your GP, at many high street pharmacies, some supermarket pharmacies and health centres.