THE idea of becoming an author had never crossed Robert Dalrymple's mind, until he suffered a severe stroke which left him gravely ill and wheelchair-bound.

Now the determined 64-year-old, of Gullane, has completed his first book after a labour of love which took him more than 10 years.

'A Stroke of a Brush' is a frank and honest autobiographical take on the realities of the aftermath of a stroke, not just for the victims but for their carers and family.

Robert, who suffered a brain stem haemorrhage in February 199 which affected his speech and mobility, hopes other stroke victims and their families can benefit from learning from his own struggles and life lessons.

The father-of-two worked as a banker for many years before becoming a self-employed business consultant. He was working when his stroke occurred. Robert wrote the publication himself using a specially-adapted computer, save for the final parts when his carers assisted with typing up his thoughts and ideas.

Robert plans to donate the proceeds from the book to brain injury charity Headway, and a national stroke charity.

He was inspired to self-publish his book after he had heard a radio programme featuring a man named Russell Turner, who had also self-published his own books.

Robert got in touch with Mr Turner, who gave Robert help and guidance on how to release his debut book.

Rober told the Courier: "I want to help others in a similar situation and that's why I wrote it. It took me a long time.

"I am trying to raise awareness of strokes, and whatever I can do in that respect will be good." Robert, who grew up in North Berwick, has been supported by his family, including sons Stephen and Kenneth, daughter-in-law Margaret, and ex-wife Yvonne.

Said Margaret: "The family are just so proud of him, it has taken a huge effort on his part and we're so happy that people will get to read his work." The family added that it is hoped the book will relieve stigma about brain injuries and serve as a source of information, guidance, comfort and help.

The money raised will go to support Headway's work across the UK in improving the life quality and providing support to people with brain injuries.

The charity has a branch in Haddington and offers a range of services.

For more information or to order a copy of the book, contact Robert on 01620 844020.