My fear­less fella

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I’m so proud of ev­ery­thing you’ve achieved

Dear Dean,

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.

Mar­ried?

‘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

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