FREED deaf charity campaigner Ian Stillman has written to his supporters in York and across the UK to thank them for their continued backing.

More than five months after being released from an Indian prison, Ian, whose parents live in Tadcaster Road, York, has told of his efforts to return to normal life and his desire to one day go back to India.

The 53-year-old, who has one leg and suffers diabetes, was freed in December on health grounds, more than two years into a ten-year jail term.

He had been imprisoned after being convicted of cannabis possession - a charge he has always denied - and the Evening Press campaigned for his release after hearing he had been denied a sign language translator at his arrest and trial.

In his letter, addressed to Dear Friends, Ian said he is living close to his sister in Romsey, Hampshire, with his son, Lennie. His daughter, Anita, is also in the UK, but his wife, Sue, has returned to India to work for their deaf charities.

Ian said: "I am grateful for your understanding and continued prayerful support, especially as I struggle to get back into a more normal routine.

"Health continues to be a major issue for me including reducing the pains and uncomfortable sensations I get and sorting out the (false) leg.

"The present health situation is probably a consequence of being relatively inactive for about 80 per cent of the time for the past two years and not being able to exercise in a normal way.

"I try to pace things out carefully and limit the times I need to leave the house. There is a lot I can do from home, as I try to improve the day-to-day energy levels and be able to rest whenever needed."

He continues: "As time progresses I get more clear about the things I should focus on. Had I continued to remain in India I would probably find it quite hard to give more time and attention to these priorities. But I do hope that I will be able to return to India at the right time and when I feel stronger physically."

Updated: 09:07 Friday, June 06, 2003