Cab driver Ian Starkey’s life changed forever in 2003 when he suffered a severe stroke while completing a circuit class at the gym.
The 40-year-old was discharged from the National Hospital, in central London, after two months.
But he was forced to hand back his green taxi badge to the PCO and the DVLA.
Now he has written a book about that difficult time.
Handing back his licence was “one of the hardest things I have ever had to do as I had tried so hard all those years ago to pass [The Knowledge],” says Ian, 52, of South Woodford.
The book, From Black Cabbing To Blackouts, published last year, details a 40-year journey from driving a cab around the capital for 15 years to coping with decreased mobility down his left side, and epilepsy.
“Life changes when you are not a cab driver any more,” said Ian, whose most high profile passengers included Freddie Mercury Joan Collins and Dame Judi Dench.
“I miss going to meet the other cab drivers in a cafe for dinner - it was a big part of my day. My stroke could have been a lot worse - I realise that. I do feel that I am a lucky man but it is hard to talk about.”
Ian has endured epileptic fits following the stroke. He says he knew nothing about strokes or epilepsy before being told by doctors.
“I was told 6,000 people had the brain condition in this country but it is not some-thing I had heard of.”
Starkey still has physiotherapy. He said: “It’s true that I do miss elements of my former life and it’s been a struggle to get back on top of things, but I’ve worked hard.
“As far as epilepsy is concerned, I am determined to fight the stigma which still surrounds the condition.”
His autobiography also covers his travels following Chelsea Football Club and the England national side.
“I was not a good writer at school, but I thought that I could write a book about my life,” said Ian.
“Since I published the book I have had a fair bit of interest.’’
Speaking of South Woodford, where he has lived all his life, he said: “I thought it was a great place to grow up because it is right on the Central Line and you could get to Chelsea FC’s stadium Stamford Bridge easily.”
From Black Cabbing To Blackouts by Ian Starkey is available at amazon.co.uk