Norwich man battles back from stroke suffered on long-haul flight to be chosen as an Olympic torchbearer

One lucky Olympic torchbearer from Norwich will be completing a quite miraculous journey when he takes part on the torch tour this summer.

Eddie Pleban, 62, suffered a stroke just over a year ago during a flight home from Australia and was given just two days to live.

But this July, Mr Pleban has been chosen to carry the Olympic torch through the Royal Sandringham Estate in west Norfolk ahead of London 2012.

Mr Pleban said: 'A year ago I could only think about getting through a day at a time. The number of times I was told I might not talk again, or eat again through my mouth. At one point I asked if I would be able to walk again and the doctors stayed very quiet.

'Then I started going to Caroline House (at Coleman Hospital on Unthank Road) and did my physio there and they really put me through the mill to get me standing again.


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'Now, I will be taking my wheelchair with me to Sandringham because I don't know how long we've got to walk yet, but I want to be able to at least light my torch and then the next one on my feet.'

Former YMCA housing services manager Mr Pleban and his wife, Jeannie, 63, live on Colman Road in Norwich.

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His fighting spirit and his 26 years of work helping homeless young people with YMCA Norfolk have lead to him being chosen as one of the 8,000 torchbearers around the country.

Mrs Pleban said: 'Last year at this time he could only move the tip of his left thumb and eyelids. Now, the world is his oyster and we are even going back to Australia later this year.'

Mr Pleban is one of many local people who have been chosen to get into the Olympic spirit. Helen Dolphin, 36, from Costessey, was featured in the Evening News in December for her bid to swim at this summer's Paralympics, despite having no arms due to blood poisoning caused by meninigitis when she was 22-years-old.

YMCA Norfolk fundraising and communications manager, Susie Knights, 40 and blind Norwich minister, Rev Simon Stokes, 49, are also among the chosen torchbearers.

Meet more of our local torchbearers in tomorrow's Evening News.

Do you know someone with an inspirational story? Contact Evening News reporter David Freezer on 01603 772418, or email david.freezer@archant.co.uk

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