Calum Quigley celebrates gaining black belt after stroke

Calum Quigley
Calum Quigley

THE FAMILY of a Hailsham schoolboy who nearly died after suffering a stroke is celebrating an amazing achievement.

The parents of 12-year-old Calum Quigley were told he would not have made it had they left it any longer to take him to hospital after he became unwell at home.

It’s almost a year since the sports enthusiast was rushed into hospital after having a stroke caused by encephalitis.

This stemmed from him having herpes in one of his eyes, which is part of the chickenpox virus.

But 12 months on and the plucky youngster has shown great determination and on Friday achieved his black belt in karate, something his family thought they might not see.

His mum, Jo Quigley, said, “Just before he had a stroke his speech started to go a bit funny, he couldn’t remember things and he had a bad headache.

“We were in hospital and the next thing we know we’re heading to London and told had we left it any longer it would have been fatal.”

The Ringmer Community College pupil has been training with Sussex based Sama Karate since he was seven but while he was recovering had to give up the hobby and take several months off school.

But thanks to Calum’s dedication and the support of his family and karate teacher he has bounced back and on Friday was handed his black belt and certificate.

The Anglesey Avenue resident, who still suffers from speech and memory problems, trained for 10 exams before impressing judges with his talents.

His proud mum added, “I couldn’t have imagined being here a year on. We were in hospital for four weeks.

“All power to him. He is so proud of his achievements. As a family we are over the moon.

“We really didn’t think we would see any of this given his imbalance and he had lost so much confidence.

“We couldn’t be any prouder.”

His karate teacher Jenny Carter, who is based at the Tunbridge Wells branch, said, “I have been teaching Calum for about six years now and he is the life and soul of the party.

“He was there every week without fail and then he had the unfortunate stroke about a year ago.

“I worked closely with his mum on making sure he didn’t give up.

“He just needed a bit of a confidence boost. I gave him some private lessons and managed to get him to come back down to Tunbridge Wells and he did his best and got his black belt on Friday.

“I’m really proud. He deserved it.”

Mrs Quigley, dad Jason and their other son, Ethan, five, were supported by the charity Different Strokes after Calum had his stroke.

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