A former police officer who suffered a stroke last year was treated to a special visit from the next generation of the mounted branch as she recovers.

Eleanor Dempster was one of the first female officers to join the mounted branch of Glasgow Police in 1974 after first joining the City of Glasgow Police in 1967 as a constable.

Already a keen horse rider, Eleanor completed the necessary training and took to the streets alongside colleague Avril Dempsey in the early 70s.

After having a stroke just before Christmas, the East Kilbride local spent time as an inpatient at the University Hospital Hairmyres.

Staff at the hospital, including physiotherapist Fiona MacDonald, decided to organise a special visit from police horses after discovering Eleanor's past career.

Glasgow Times: Lorraine Bennett, senior charge nurse (left), Eleanor Dempster (centre) and Fiona MacDonald, physiotherapist (right).Lorraine Bennett, senior charge nurse (left), Eleanor Dempster (centre) and Fiona MacDonald, physiotherapist (right). (Image: Lorraine Bennett, senior charge nurse (left), Eleanor Dempster (centre) and Fiona MacDonald)

Fiona said: “We like to find out about each individual’s likes and interests to see if we can incorporate anything into their therapy and recovery programme.

“We learned about Eleanor’s career and her love of horses. One of our nurses brought in a saddle to help with Eleanor’s rehabilitation by getting her to polish the saddle to build up her arm strength. You could see the positive effect this had on Eleanor.

“As this was such a success, I emailed the mounted police to find out if there was anything else we could do and they were more than happy to help.”

Unbeknownst to the staff, a photo of Eleanor and two fellow officers still hangs on display in the mounted branch, providing a source of inspiration to the next generation of female officers.

Sergeant Lisa Connelly, Police Scotland mounted branch, said: “A photo of Eleanor and her two colleagues from the 1970s has been on display in the mounted branch for years. They are a real inspiration for us.

“As soon as everyone at the mounted branch became aware that the request was for Eleanor, we were all really keen to get involved.

“One of our grooms filmed some footage in our yard for Eleanor and sent the video to Fiona. Once we found out how much Eleanor enjoyed the video, we were keen to arrange a visit because she paved the way for females in the mounted branch. It was lovely to meet her.”

Fiona Campbell, a police constable who has 12 years of service in the mounted unit, added: “Seeing Eleanor’s face light up when she saw the horses was amazing.

“We presented Eleanor with the photo of her and her two colleagues that had been hanging in the mounted unit, it can now take pride of place in her home.”