Daventry village’s community choir donates to stroke survivor’s marathon walk

Andy Ibbott and members of the Whilton Warblers Community Choir
Andy Ibbott and members of the Whilton Warblers Community Choir

A community choir presented a cheque to an inspirational stroke survivor who is walking across the Sahara Desert to raise funds for a disability charity.

The Whilton Warblers Community Choir hold concerts throughout the year and money raised goes towards various charity projects.

They chose to donate £160 to Great Brington’s Andy Ibbott, who hit rock bottom six years ago after suffering a stroke aged 46.

Alongside his best friend Rob Bayman, and his neurophysiotherapist Jon Graham, from Long Buckby, Andy is taking part in the Marathon Des Sables to raise money for the disability charity Scope.

“As Andy’s best friend of 29 years, our families have socialised and holidayed with him in the years before and after his stroke,” said Rob.

“I thought he had made a near full mental recovery. But while we have been training and organising our fund raising events, I have come to see the full picture.

“A little part of my best mate died that night, but I still love the new Andy and that’s why I am so committed to getting him across that desert with Jon and crossing that finishing line.”

Andy’s life-changing moment happened during a routine operation on his neck to remove a tumour from his carotid artery, which left him unable to speak or move his right hand side.

Despite the odds he survived, and the then director of the California Superbike School and race coach in the MotoGP series left hospital 18 weeks later in a wheelchair.

Once home he was entirely dependent on his family as he was not able to feed himself because the operation had left him unable to swallow.

Andy refused to give up and after weeks of exercise his speech began to improve but he still has difficulties with his right hand side.

Now after months of preparation the three members of Team Big Tortoise have set off to take on the gruelling six day foot race, ranked as the toughest in the world by the Discovery Channel.

The race starts on April 7 and the competitors will cover around 250km of Saharan desert terrain.

You can make a donation to Team Big Tortoise here