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Jackie Fullerton back on his feet after hip op, just like pal Eamonn Holmes

By Lesley Houston

Published 18/02/2016

Jackie Fullerton with wife Linda
Jackie Fullerton with wife Linda
Eamonn Holmes on crutches

Ten days after a hip replacement confined him to a hospital bed, broadcast veteran Jackie Fullerton is relishing being back on his feet and back in his own bed.

The sports presenter was again tackling his beloved crosswords in his Ballymena home yesterday after his first night's sleep since his release from Musgrave Park Hospital on Tuesday.

After undergoing the op - turning in one old hip for a new one, similar to pal Eamonn Holmes who recently swapped both for new models - the voice of Northern Ireland football is feeling much better.

Suffering pain for a number of years, it became really severe last July.

"I got a lot of pain in my groin area and it's very debilitating and your energy levels just hit zero," he explained.

After undergoing a procedure "much more straightforward" than the one that hospitalised him in 2004 - a triple bypass - the 72-year-old endured a double dose of his rehabilitative exercises yesterday in a bid to get him fighting fit for a planned walk of the walls of Dubrovnik in Croatia this summer.

"The experience was fine, and I know it's a cliché, but the NHS really is full of wonderful people and I think in these very stringent times we should try to get the money to preserve and cherish an institution like the NHS," he added.

"It was only marred by a chest infection, so because my first walk was put back four days, it was a walk of fear."

Throughout the episode the grandfather-of-six has been able to compare notes with TV presenter chum Eamonn.

"I take my hat off to him, not my hip, but my hat, and what he's done is really remarkable," he said.

"Eamonn said he is not going to do anything extreme like run a marathon, but just get back to normal, and I say 'hear, hear' to that.

"We have been in touch and sort of mentoring each other through this, and cajoling each other along."

The Sky presenter is also back at home recuperating.

Taking it easy now, Jackie added he owed the world to Linda, his devoted wife of nearly 50 years.

"I couldn't do it without her," he said.

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