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As an ex-sportsman, 81-year-old Colin Davenport has never been one to let his age or his health slow him down.

But after suffering a stroke almost a decade ago, the former Lytham Golf Club captain and Fleetwood Town footballer found himself unable to drive and having difficulty walking and talking. On top of the knock-on effects of his stroke, Colin also has a pacemaker and suffers from shortness of breath while out and about.

A strong personal drive borne out of his sporting background and an RAF-ingrained stiff upper lip attitude helped him to recover some of his lost freedoms following the stroke.

And now, thanks to a new service being rolled out across the Fylde coast, the retired corporal has the help of a dedicated team to manage his health conditions on a daily basis.

“The whole thing is great. It is there to try to keep you out of hospital and make sure everything is all right. It is the best thing that has happened to me,” says Colin of the new extensive care service, based at Lytham Primary Care Centre.

Extensive care, which also currently runs out of Moor Park Health Centre in Bispham, provides proactive support to patients such as Colin, to better understand and manage their conditions in order to dramatically reduce the need for unplanned hospital visits.

The dedicated team supports Colin – who lives with his partner Rita Fletcher in East Cliffe, Lytham – and other patients with all of their health and care needs so they no longer have various appointments with different professionals.

Patients are allocated their own wellbeing support worker, who they meet with on a regular basis, to develop a long-term plan for their health.

This includes setting a number of achievable goals which are all geared towards improving their health and wellbeing.

Since joining the extensive care service, Colin has been able to work with wellbeing support worker Rachel Haworth to get more active as a result of the goals he set himself.

Colin said: “Firstly I wanted to get some weight off and I have done that. I also wanted to understand why I was getting short of breath and that is now improving.

“Working with Rachel and the team has helped me to understand my conditions, which has helped me to manage them, overcome them and control them a lot more.

“Extensive care helps me to keep moving forward. I can just make a phone call and there is always someone there to help me and that is the main thing.

“It has helped me 120 per cent. The people who are responsible for this are fantastic.”

Rachel is part of a growing team of wellbeing support workers with a caseload now exceeding 20 patients each. Having previously worked as a healthcare assistant at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, she now enjoys being able to spend time with patients and getting to know them.

She said: “I really enjoy the work as it is very positive and person-centred. I get the luxury of having the time to spend with the patient and it is nice to build those relationships.

“Now when the patients are ringing us we know it is for a good reason as they have been empowered to deal with many things themselves.”