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Bethlehem man Ross Gemmell spent his life sailing and swimming, and was even called up for national service in the Army - all while living with a disorder that weakens and wastes away his muscles.
Now he has designed and built aids to help with daily tasks and hopes they will aid others.
The 70-year-old, who moved to Tauranga in June last year, was born with limb girdle muscular dystrophy - an inherited progressive disorder that affects the muscles of the hip, shoulder and other areas of the body - but it was not diagnosed until he was 36.
He first realised he might have a disorder, and why he was having trouble playing physical sport at school, when he was 8 years old. One day at lunchtime, when yet again confronted by bullies, a friend of Mr Gemmell told his tormenters to "leave him alone, he's a cripple".