A former north-east soldier and chef to the royals has thanked wellwishers for their messages of support after he suddenly fell ill.
Colin Cruden, chef at Cruden Caterers at Nigg Bay Golf Club, was at his home in Aberdeen on Thursday when he collapsed and was taken to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.
After three hours of procedures, the 56-year-old was diagnosed with blocked arteries and kept in hospital for two days.
Recovering at home, the father of three has thanked friends, family and customers for their backing and has pledged to bounce back in the coming days.
“Everyone has been really supportive, it’s been fantastic. I can’t thank them enough.”
Colin said he was home alone on Thursday when he had breathing problems.
He said: “I felt clammy and didn’t feel like myself. It got harder to breath and I started coughing up blood.
“I was in a blind state of panic. It was a big worry at the time, especially as nobody else was home.”
Luckily his neighbours called an ambulance and doctors managed to unblock his arteries after a series of tests.
The cafe has been closed for a few days while Colin gets back to full health.
He said: “It is strange because I was in the Army for many years and used to run 15 miles in the morning and 15 more at night.
“I’m not as fit these days but I do look after myself by going cycling and I don’t smoke.
“I’ve just been told I need to watch what I eat.
“It’s definitely been an eye-opener for me.”
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Colin picked up his culinary skills in the armed forces.
He was among the first to be airlifted into the Falkland Islands conflict, cooking for the troops.
After leaving the services, he became a chef and was among the caterers at the wedding of Prince Charles and Diana.
He has also cooked for other members of the Royal Family on several occasions on their visits to Balmoral.
Colin has tantalised the tastebuds of the late former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and foreign dignitaries including former Russian premier Mikhail Gorbachev.
He said: “It has been an honour to cook for such renowned people and to have been able to experience such things.”
Under Colin’s direction, Cruden Caterers recently took over the kitchen at the golf club and have brought about a surge in trade.
“There used to only be about seven customers in any given day before we arrived and now we get 45 to 50,” said Colin.
He added: “On a weekend, we advertise the kitchen closing at 6.30pm but often have to close at 7.30pm because we have so many customers.
“I’m not sure how long I’ll be away, but it won’t be too long and I’m sure I’ll have the support of my family, who have been brilliant over the last few days.
“I couldn’t wish for more.”