Norwich man who suffered stroke on plane is home

A Norwich man who suffered a stroke on a flight home from Australia is now back in the city and out of intensive care at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

Housing manager Eddie Pleban and his wife Jeannie had been visiting their youngest daughter Sarah-Jane, 31, and their newest grandchild Charlotte in Perth on Australia's west coast.

But as their Royal Brunei Airlines flight neared Dubai for a refuelling stop Mr Pleban was taken seriously ill and the Norwich couple, who live on Colman Road, spent more than a week in a hospital in the affluent Asian country.

Mr Pleban was flown home in a special medical plane at the end of last week, with several family members not far behind on a normal commercial flight.

His daughter, Louise Hamilton, knows her family still have many difficulties to face but is just relieved to have her family all together again: 'Dad is making improvements all the time and came out of the intensive care unit on Monday. He is now in the Gunthorpe Ward stroke centre and it is just superb in there.

'Now that all of us are together we can support each other and take it in turns to look after mum and dad.'

Mr Pleban needed a tracheotomy to help his breathing and ability to swallow. He communicates by blinking and use of an alphabet board, although his face has no paralysis and his family believe his brain is fully functioning.

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The road to recovery remains a long one but there are encouraging signs as he has told doctors of feeling tingling in his arms and legs.

Mrs Hamilton said: 'The consultants are always talking in terms of quality of life and the first thing they hope to see is if the patient can sit up in a chair. Dad was able to do that and that means he still has some core strength to hold himself up.

'We have no idea how long his recovery will take, or even if he will, but he really is pushing every day.'

Mr Pleban, 63, was born in Sunderland but worked for YMCA Norfolk as a catering manager for 26 years.

He is a grandfather of six and has one other daughter, 39-year-old Lila, and a son, John, who is 38, who are both now in Norfolk to support their parents.

Friends and former colleagues from YMCA Norfolk held an hour of prayer for Mr Pleban and his family on Monday at the YMCA building at Trowse, while his current work place Solo Housing, at Diss, have also been a big help.

Mrs Hamilton added: 'We have been really grateful for that and I am very humbled by the support we've had, as well as inspired by our mum and dad.'

Mrs Hamilton's Facebook group has seen tributes pouring in for her father, search for the group 'I Love Eddie Pleban' if you would like to add yours.

Are your family going through a similar ordeal? Contact reporter David Freezer on 01603 772418 or on eamil at