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Horse-riding archer Philip Donoghue, from Gillingham, back in saddle after surgery

By Lynn Cox

A horse-riding archer is back in the saddle after undergoing life-changing surgery.

Philip Donoghue has ridden and trained horses for decades but was sidelined by arthritis in his right knee.

The 71-year-old said: “I had significant pain that had developed over the years after falls that are just a part of horse riding.

Philip Donoghue with his horse, Ted. Pic Steve Crispe

Philip Donoghue with his horse, Ted. Pic: Steve Crispe

“This and the lack of flexibility got worse and in the end, I could no longer ride.

“I went to my GP who sent me to the Will Adams NHS Treatment Centre, Gillingham, where I saw orthopaedic clinical director Nurul Ahad.”

It was discovered the Hoo resident needed a knee replacement, a procedure not carried out at the Beechings Way centre and, as a result, he was sent to its sister centre in north east London.

Mr Donoghue was back on his feet within hours of his surgery.

The great-grandad was home two days later.

He added: “I was walking properly within three weeks and back on my horse in three months.

“I had not tried it before as I was under very strict instructions from my wife and daughter, who would follow me to the field to ensure I wasn’t taking a sneaky ride.”

Mr Donoghue takes part in horse archery, where riders gallop down a strip while firing at targets as they go.

He said: “I had been doing archery with my son, but target archery got a bit dull so I found horse archery, which combines two of my interests.

“Now my knee is better I am back in the saddle and have also taken up field archery that involves shooting at targets on a rough, countryside course.”

The retired refractory bricklayer had hoped to take part in the year’s British Championship trials at Hemel Hempstead – something that would have been unthinkable before surgery – but his horse Ted isn’t ready.

Mr Ahad added: “I am delighted to hear Mr Donoghue is back to competing.

“As a surgeon, you want patients to be pain free and in good health, but it is a joy when you learn that surgery has enabled them to return to the life they love.”

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