STAFF from the Stroke Association are hoping to help rugby fans beat the odds this weekend with free blood pressure checks ahead of Warrington taking on Widnes.

One in six people will have a stroke with high blood pressure being one of the most important risk factors contributing to about half of all strokes.

Lymm stoke survivor Kevin Akister knows only too well the impact a stroke can have after suffering one in May 2011.

The 56-year-old was on holiday with his wife Janine in Scotland when he felt pins and needles down one side.

Kevin added: “I knew what the signs and symptoms were and told my wife but I think she was a bit dubious until she realised my face was dropping and recognised the symptom from the TV advert.

“We were in the middle of nowhere and I had to be airlifted to hospital before I was eventually flown to Warrington where they helped me with my recovery.”

Initially the retired firefighter could not stand, lost his speech for 10 weeks and still can not use his right arm but after weeks of physio he is now walking again.

Kevin, who now volunteers with the Stroke Association, added: “I wanted to give something back for all the support they gave not just me but my wife who was going through all sorts while I was in a hospital bed.”

Warrington Wolves are supporting the Stroke Association’s ‘Know your blood pressure’ event with staff visiting players to check their blood pressure and introduce the team to Kevin before the game tomorrow, Friday.

Jane Guy, from the Stroke Association, said: “Thousands of people are completely unaware of their own blood pressure levels and some people we test can be shocked to hear they are showing a high reading.

“We then encourage them to follow this up with their GP.

“It’s a quick, free and painless way to find out your own risk.”

In the north west, there are more than 14,600 strokes per year and more than 157,300 people living with the effects of stroke.

Free blood pressure checks for match goers will take place from 1.30 to 3pm.

For more information, call 0303 30 33 100 or visit