A GLASGOW man is set to take his place in the spotlight tonight after recovering from a stroke at the age of just 22 – through the art of baking.

Richard Copeland saw his physical and mental health decline after the stroke in 2012.

He spent months learning how to walk again and then years finding himself on the up after his dad encouraged him to start baking. Now, the 28-year-old is set to make his on-screen debut as a guest judge on BBC Scotland’s Flour Power. The amateur baking series sees contestants battle it out in each episode to take home the coveted Flour Power trophy and, this week, the show sees four workmates at Glasgow’s Tron Theatre compete against each other, with Richard featuring as a special guest judge.

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Richard told of how the stroke left him paralysed from the neck down.

Over the next four months, he taught himself how to walk again, use his hands and live his life once more. He said: “A few years after, I felt I’d hit a slump. I didn’t know where to go or what to do to make my recovery stronger. I wanted to make myself feel like I’d accomplished something. My dad suggested baking.

“I made my first loaf of bread and it reignited something in me. The kneading was helping my upper body strength.”

Although he’s come a long way, Richard, who lives in the West End of Glasgow, told of how the spinal stroke affected all the nerves in his body and even his internal organs, something he still struggles with today.

Richard said: “I wake up with a stomach ache sometimes and my right side hasn’t recovered. I walk with a pretty bad limp and my hands are still bad. I find it hard to pick up some objects. I can live my life in a way I want, but I still struggle.

“Some days I don’t want to bake I’ve got a great family who are always looking after me. Through The Wee Baker, I reach out and post and tell people what’s happening with me.”

Richard started The Wee Baker after posting about his bread online. He said: “I was thinking about how baking was affecting me. The name ‘The Wee Baker’ just seemed to stick because I’m small!”

Richard first got his taste of local fame last summer after he became the focus of a BBC Three Facebook video which went viral. He explained: “My friend was a freelancer with the BBC. He pitched the idea and they loved it. He filmed it and it exploded on Facebook. It got around four million views. It was pretty wild.

“Flour Power was strange. They emailed me after finding me through my website. I was posting YouTube tutorial videos, plus I’d done that BBC Facebook video. They said they were interested in my story. They gave me a short interview and offered me the position of guest judge.”

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Although he’d been in front of the camera before, Richard told how he was “terrified” in the days leading up to filming. “I struggled to get my words out,” he explained. “Usually, I like to think about my words before I say them but, on TV, it’s all just then and there and it’s a one-way conversation. I was self-doubting.

“Telling my story on camera was something I had in my mind because I’m reminded every day through my symptoms. It never really leaves me. I like talking about it and educating people. It’s an invisible disability. I like telling other people these things exist because you can’t judge a book by its cover.”

Richard’s enthusiasm is a testament to others who have had to overcome difficulties. In a parting message, he said: “Just try. We always have good days and bad. Don’t be so hard on yourself on the bad days. On the good days, make the most of it. If you want to attempt something, just try and take that first step. You never know where it’s going to take you.”

Flour Power continues at 8pm on BBC Scotland tonight