Introduction from Professor Sir David Greenaway
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