My fearless fella
I’m so proud of everything you’ve achieved
Flipping through the newspaper that day, I never thought I’d end up finding a hubby.
But there you were, in the dating section. It was 1998 and I was living in Exeter. Working as a GP, with loads of mates, life was great. But at 29, it felt like something was missing…
Your ad in the Would Like To Meet section caught my eye.
Dean, 29, loves extreme sports, good times ahead.
I was intrigued. And I’d done a skydive in my time…
Biting my lip, I called you. No answer, so I left a message.
A week later, you rang back. ‘Sorry I didn’t call sooner,’ you grovelled. ‘I’ve been on holiday!’
You were so funny and easy-going, it felt like I’d known you years already.
Then… ‘I have to tell you something,’ you said.
My heart sank.
‘I’m registered as blind,’ you told me.
Honestly, it was such a relief. And I meant it when I said that didn’t matter to me one bit. The next week, we met. You were so independent, moving around with confidence. Not to mention gorgeous!
You told me you first had sight problems aged 9.
‘I turned up to school one day and couldn’t see the blackboard,’ you said.
Things had got worse since then and all you had left was peripheral vision.
‘I had two choices when I was diagnosed as blind,’ you told me. ‘I could sit at home moping or go and live life.’
You chose the latter, and you’d done your first ever extreme sport that year.
A tandem skydive from a plane! ‘When my feet touched the ground, I was an adrenaline junkie,’ you grinned. ‘I don’t plan on stopping.’
It was easy to fall in love with you, Dean – your optimism was infectious.
In August 1999, you proposed – at the top of a mountain in Skye, next to a loch.
By May 2002, we’d married and moved to Scotland, your actionpacked weekends continuing.
You wing-walked on a plane, became the first blind person to bungee out of a helicopter...
I didn’t let my fear for your safety hinder you.
But sometimes people got in your way. You were turned away from some sports for being a health and safety risk.
Meanwhile, I knew you were anything but...
You knew the route to the shops, training our rescue dog Stumpy to help.
‘Crossing the road is more dangerous for me than extreme sports,’ you groaned. ‘They don’t understand I’m still human.’
You wanted to prove that visually impaired people had ambition like everybody else.
So you don’t let the knock-backs stop you.
Now you’ve completed over 100 extreme challenges, setting 14 world firsts.
This August, you attempted another world record, paddleboarding 220km non-stop across Holland. No sleep for 36 hours.
Not this time... But I’m sure we’ll try again next year!
We don’t know what the future holds. But I’m so proud of you and of everything you’ve accomplished.
I’ll always be your number-one fan. Love your wife, Rhona Rhona Dunbar, 49, Blairgowrie