A MAN who gave up work to care for his disabled wife says the support they've had from health and care workers has helped them get through the coronavirus lockdown.

Gordon Darroch, 55, looks after wife Maura who has secondary progressive multiple sclerosis.

Gordon gave up his full-time job in August 2019 to care for his wife and to spend time with his dad who was ill.

His dad sadly passed away in October last year.

When lockdown hit, the couple were concerned about how they would cope - but Gordon is in no doubt that the dedication of GPs, pharmacy staff, district nurses, carers organisations and occupational therapists has helped them through.

Gordon, from Inverkip's Findhorn Crescent, spoke to the Tele in the wake of the recent Carers Week.

He said: "I don't know what we would have done without them.

"It's their personalities and their attitude and the way in which they do their job.

"Maura hasn't been further than the back garden for the last five months.

"I've been going out and doing the shopping and doing what I need to do.

"It's not been easy.

"I think we're coping remarkably well and a lot of that is down to the support we're getting."

Maura, now 57, was diagnosed with secondary progressive MS when she was just 33 and retired from her job as a senior psychiatric nurse around 15 years ago.

She has been in a wheelchair for the last 10 years and struggles with her manual dexterity.

Gordon began caring for Maura completely on his own when he was working as an operations manager for a pharmaceutical company and continued when he was a manager and a colleague in retail.

He worked long hours with no support until he called on his GP at the time, Dr McNeil, and the director of nursing from the community psychiatric team for help.

The couple now receive support from Karma Healthcare in Gourock, occupational therapist Anne McHugh, financial support officer Vicky Johnstone and the Centre for Independent Living in Gibshill, and are also assisted by Ardgowan Medical Practice, GPs Dr Ross and Dr Maguire at Lochview Medical Practice, Vivienne at Inverkip Pharmacy and district nurses Sandra, Gillian, Heather and Bernadette.

When the COVID-19 pandemic reached the district, Gordon approached Inverclyde Council about personal protective equipment to wear when he was out getting the shopping.

He was directed to the Fitzgerald Centre and to Inverclyde Carers' Centre and now has a supply of gloves, aprons and masks.

Lifting Maura is now an issue for Gordon as he has sciatica, so support is essential.

Gordon explained: "We didn't have carers 10 years ago.

"I was working in retail, coming home and looking after Maura with no support.

"I went to see my GP and she couldn't have been nicer.

"She put us onto the right people.

"I don't know what I would have done without her.

"I get angry, frustrated, and annoyed that Maura has the condition.

"I've seen her go from walking on her own, to walking with two sticks, to using a power wheelchair.

"Maura's glass is always half full but mine is always half empty.

"The advice they all give us has been great. They have a great attitude and have been very supportive.”

The jetsetting couple, who have been to Florida 38 times, are keen to get out and see the world again next year - and are sure that the support they have received from Inverclyde's care network will help them do that.

Maura said: "It's been difficult being stuck in the one place and not being able to go anywhere.

"I love to go out window shopping and look at all the latest things in the shops.

"It's hard but Gordon looks after me well.

"He's a really good cook as well which helps.

"Everyone has been really good and has looked after us well through all of this."