Graeme Stewart - Peer Support Adviser

For The Glasgow Area

Contact: E: [email protected]

Graeme has been with Spinal Injuries Scotland as a Peer Support since June 2023

Graeme's Story

Hi there , I am Graeme Stewart and I have just joined Spinal Injuries Scotland as a Peer Support Advisor in Glasgow.My past interactions with Spinal Injuries Scotland were in attending the Winter Ball regularly after being invited by Joanna Martin some years ago, and reading the magazine when it dropped through my letterbox.

I was born in 1966 in Alexandria , the one near Loch Lomond , and had a brilliant childhood climbing trees , swimming in rivers , going fishing and playing about on bikes and boats.In 1978 I joined Loch Lomond Rowing Club and was hooked on the sport and continue to row regularly.

In 1983 I was training with my club and had been selected to represent Scotland when myself and some friends went for a walk after training, to Balloch Country Park and were larking about on a rope swing when unfortunately I fell off and fell about 50m into a gorge and sustained a spinal injury at L1,L4 and L5.As we all know my life was changed forever.

My plan had been to join the RAF but this was now impossible, so it was 8 weeks of being on a Stryker frame in the Western Infirmary in Glasgow then 10 weeks of rehab and then back to school and also back to the rowing club. Passed my exams and done some summer jobs and then went to college and Uni, still not having a clue what to do. Next stop was working for Greater Glasgow Health Board in the wages department. I lasted 6 months then joined the Civil Service in National Savings and was there, doing many different roles, until I retired in 2021.

Throughout this sport has always been my passion and as I said, it was straight back to the rowing club as soon as I was discharged. Thankfully the members and my friends treated me the same as before and I have the same friends now that I had then. I went on to represent Scotland and competed overseas and won various British and Scottish Championships and won a silver medal in 2008 British Championships Adaptive Sculls event , only being beaten by the World and Paralympic champion.

I have enjoyed and played many sports since my accident and am convinced this has helped me live life to the full.

I have competed in Tennis, Badminton,Long distance Kayaking ,Athletics and Wheelchair Rugby League where I have been to three World Cups and Captained Scotland at two of these.I have also been skiing and waterskiing and climbing(even though I am scared of heights).I never thought I would love a sport as much as Rowing but Wheelchair Rugby League comes a close second and I have had the good luck to make many friends in this sport.

I am have many interests outwith sport and I enjoy music , favourite band being The Stranglers, and I have seen them on many occasions. I also am an avid reader and love the outdoors, having a triride has been a blessing. I think the only thing I really miss is walking in the hills but I have crawled up Ben Nevis(4 days) and Ben Lomond(3 days).

I was very lucky after my accident as my family were very supportive and have been there through many ups and downs and I am conscious that it is harder for them in some ways than it is for us and I am very grateful for my family and friends in being there in my changed circumstances, and making my life as good as it is.

I always worked so was unable to attend a lot of the Spinal Injuries Scotland events but I will be attending a lot more and hope to meet as many of you as possible.