The high life
An 81- year- old former Rhonehouse man celebrated his recovery from a heart valve transplant by climbing his favourite Stewarty hill.
James Little was the 1,000th patient to receive a Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implant through a revolutionary new operation at Leeds General Infirmary earlier this year.
The procedure, which replaces open heart surgery, worked wonders for the now Harrogate resident who had previously struggled with the Barstobrick walk to Neilson’s monument.
He said: “My recovery has been better than I thought.
“I can walk longer distances and a lot quicker. I feel as if I’m back to normal and it is such a relief not to have to take all my medication any more.”
His wife Maureen added: “He found the walk a lot easier this time.
“As a boy, he and his many brothers and sisters played up that way so it’s always been special to him.
“He’s brilliant – never been better – since the operation.
“We are all very happy with how it went.
“The operation was instead of open heart surgery.
“He was the 1,000th person to get the clinical trial at the hospital which is trying to prove keyhole surgery is as safe for some procedures.”
The News featured James and his not so little family last year on his 80th birthday when his eight brothers and sisters gathered in the village for a party.
The siblings – who all have a combined age of more than 650 – celebrated in the village hall with many of James’ former schoolmates.
James’ wife said: “It was a brilliant lunch and people came from far and wide. It was a real village do.
“James is the eldest with Hugh the youngest at 64, who is due to retire soon.
“Quite a few live locally but we live down south. James was in the RAF and we’ve also lived in America and Berlin.
“We all get together as much as we can and we’ve started this tradition of taking a family photo.”
At the top Douglas Little, 67, James Little, 81, Bill Little, 74, and Hugh Baillie, 74