For stroke survivors like myself, the path to recovery is long, hard, and painful. We depend on people we never met before to care for us and help us recover, and behind the scenes the work of many professionals goes unrewarded and many times unnoticed.
The fundamental need for excellence in research into strokes and stroke recovery is clear. I have set up the Ossie Newell Foundation to try and contribute to this research in recognition of the debt of gratitude I owe those people who helped me on a long, hard but ultimately life-saving journey.
Introduction from Professor Sir David Greenaway, former Vice-Chancellor, University of Nottingham
It is my great pleasure to provide an introduction to the Ossie Newell Foundation. Ossie has made a unique contribution to stroke care at local and national level, where he has been a persistent and loyal advocate.
After a distinguished career in construction services and electronics Ossie was not ready for a quiet life of retirement and embarked on an Open University course in Nottingham to obtain a Bachelors of Arts Degree with Honours. As he was completing his final thesis in 1999, at the age of 64, he sadly suffered a stroke.
Ossie’s stroke was devastating in its severity, making him totally dependent on help to walk and requiring full assistance with all daily needs, including washing and dressing. As you may have predicted he tackled this life challenge with the same tenacity he had applied in his sporting and professional careers. Despite his dogged determination it took Ossie nearly two years to achieve a good recovery enabling him to walk, dress and write independently and nearly seven years to regain his ability to draw which has been a life-long pastime.
As Ossie battled with his own personal recovery he realised he had to make a contribution to the lives of others in similar situations to himself. He then embarked on his second career as key advocate for stroke survivors and passionate campaigner. A year after his stroke Ossie founded the Nottingham patient group @astroke which gave support and information to fellow stroke survivors and their families. As his health recovered his input was increasingly sought from many organisations that recognised his unique contribution in driving improvements in stroke services in the East Midlands and nationally.
Ossie has sat on the Board of the Nottingham Queen’s Medical Centre NHS Trust and National Stroke Management Board at the Department of Health. He has also been a member of the East Midlands Cardiac and Stroke Board and chaired the East Midlands Stroke Network Patient Partnership Board. He has spoken at multiple national stroke conferences and delivered impassioned speeches in the House of Commons. His voice is greatly respected at all levels throughout the stroke community and has made a significant contribution to the delivery of better stroke services in the UK.
Over the last decade Ossie has developed an enduring relationship with the University of Nottingham. Until recently he was a co-chair of the Nottingham Stroke Research Consumer Group. This works in partnership with academics at the University and ensures the research undertaken is of importance to those living with stroke, that the timing of the research is appropriate, and that the outcome measures of success are those important to stroke survivors. I can assure you he and his fellow stroke survivors are not shy in telling us when our research falls short!
In recognition of Ossie’s selfless commitment to improving the lives of stroke survivors and for his service to stroke care in the UK, he was appointed MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in 2009. He has also been awarded a Commemorative Medal from Stroke Alliance for Europe (SAFE) in recognition of his dedicated work as a media volunteer for stroke.
I could list many more achievements but, it would be remiss of me not to note that his dedication to improving life after stroke and enhancing the services provided to stroke survivors would have been unachievable had it not been for the support and love of his wife Olive and children Louise, Helen and David. Their sacrifice has been our gain.
The Ossie Newell Foundation will provide a fitting and lasting legacy in supporting PhD students pursuing stroke rehabilitation in their studies to improve the lives of stroke survivors in the future.
Professor Sir David Greenaway
Vice-Chancellor, The University of Nottingham
Working with Ossie
Shortly after retiring from an outstanding career managing 17 engineering companies worldwide, Ossie suffered a major stroke at the age of 64. This had a profound impact on his ability to walk, talk and manage the simplest of daily tasks such as washing, dressing and feeding. Through sheer determination and hard work Ossie recovered sufficiently to enable him to lead a full, but different life, to the one he had known previously.
For those individuals privileged to know Ossie, they will be aware that he has a huge sense of civic duty and an aptitude for work that knows no bounds. With a real desire to give something back for the care and support he received during his recovery, Ossie embarked on his second career as an advocate for fellow stroke survivors and passionate campaigner for the delivery of the best stroke care possible. A year after his stroke Ossie founded the Nottingham patient group @astroke which gave support and information to fellow stroke survivors and their families. As his health recovered his input was increasingly sought from many organisations that recognised his unique contribution in driving improvements in stroke services both in the East Midlands and at a national level. Through unwavering support and dedication, Ossie as ambassador for his fellow stroke survivors, has become greatly respected at all levels throughout the stroke community. He is recognised for having made a major contribution to the delivery of better stroke services in Nottingham, and across the UK.
Over the last decade I have worked very closely with Ossie to ensure that stroke research at the University of Nottingham has the critical voice of stroke survivors and their families firmly embedded in all our work. I can honestly say this partnership has been one of the most productive and enjoyable of my career. He is a joy to work with and his compassion for fellow stroke survivors and their families is truly humbling. Our joint belief that the research done today will impact on the lives of those with stroke tomorrow has been the impetus for the Ossie Newell Foundation and will be his legacy for years to come. Ossie’s sole mission is simply to make the lives of those unfortunate to have experienced stroke a better and more fulfilling one.
Ossie is a truly inspirational man who through his own adversity has given so much to the field of stroke care and stroke research. It has been an honour to work with him over the years and I feel privileged to act as a Trustee of the Ossie Newell Foundation.
Professor Marion Walker MBE
Professor of Stroke Rehabilitation & Associate Pro Vice-Chancellor Equality, Diversity and Inclusion