David Atwell: Mayor of the Month

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One of the joys of my job is that I meet a lot of interesting people with interesting stories.

 

I think David tops them all.

 

David had a brain tumour while he was Mayor of Newport. Most people would wave a little white flag and hand back the chain. Not David.

 

Six days after he left hospital he attended an engagement. In my book that makes him a remarkable human being and a worthy candidate for Mayor of the Month.

 

A normal Mayor

 

David’s year in office initially progressed much like anyone else’s. He went to events, he met people, he tried to make a difference to his community. He lived the normal, albeit slightly strange, life of a Mayor.

 

The 16th of November started like a normal day. David and his wife Carol prepared to support Gwent Music who were playing in the Music for Youth Prom at the Royal Albert Hall. Just another day in the Mayoral calendar. Except David was rushed to hospital.

 

Hard times

 

David received the devastating news that he had a brain tumour.

 

He required surgery to remove what was classified as a very serious brain tumour. After further treatment and tests, he returned home at the start of December. After Christmas, he endured daily radio and chemo therapy for 6 weeks. After a month chemo was restarted 5 days a month for a further 3 months.

 

This would be enough to knock most people for six. A normal person would have taken it easy for months, even years. But David is not a normal person.

 

A spectacular recovery

 

Six days after leaving hospital, just 13 days after life threatening surgery, David attended a Rotary event. This was quickly followed by a carol service.

 

That’s remarkable – except it’s even more extraordinary considering that David had lost the ability to speak.

 

But that wasn’t a setback as he was supported by a dedicated Mayoress, his loving wife Carol. She explained “At the moment, David is not quite as articulate as he used to be.”

 

I don’t think you can underestimate the importance of having a trusted, supportive person to accompany you to events. Carol has taken this to new levels. She was an extraordinary Mayoress for an extraordinary Mayor.

 

What a team

 

Between them they have done an amazing job. They have attended around one hundred events since David’s surgery. I have no doubt they made each one truly special for the people they meet.

 

As I will quickly run out of superlatives to describe their truly remarkable achievements I will bow to the councillors that have worked with them over the year.

 

“A true gentleman”

 

Council Leader Debbie Wilcox was keen to stress that they both contributed so much, “You have both represented the city to the highest standards.”

 

His deputy, David Fouweather, was quick to join the congratulations “David served this city with dedication and with dignity. It has been my great pleasure to work with him.” Cllr Fouweather, now Mayor of Newport, added, “It hasn’t all been plain sailing – but despite all that he carried on and served this city well.”

 

A full year

 

Doubtless there was more that David wanted to achieve but I think what he has done is an unparalleled example of dedication to the office, it stands comparison with any civic leader I’ve ever come across.

 

I will leave you with the thought of Newport Council’s Leader, Debbie Wilcox “David’s dedication to the office as a Mayor is a true example to us all.”

Duncan Bhaskaran BrownDavid Atwell: Mayor of the Month

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