A gorgeous spring day in London.
But there are news that turn the brightest day to dust.
Dave Rowley has suffered a heart attack. It was so severe that he did not survive.
Some of you may not know who Dave is. Only a few years ago, Dave retired as a Senior Lecturer at De Montfort University, after many years of teaching speech and language therapists their trade.
He has always had an interest in stammering which led him to a close collaboration with Lena Rustin, one of the founders of the Michael Palin Centre. They looked at the situation of stammering therapy from the two points of the clinician and the researcher – and decided to do something about this.
The result was the Oxford Dysfluency Conference (ODC), one of the biggest, and most important international Conferences about stammering anywhere in the world. It is only held once every three years, and last year he and Sharon Millard organised the 10th Conference, as inspiring as ever.
The Conference is also held in a warm atmosphere, calm, in quiet seclusion at St Catherine’s in the Thames meadows, away from the bustle of Central Oxford. It’s a restful place, with beautiful architecture. To me, the Conference has always been a reflection of Dave’s character.
I’ve had a number of quiet talks with him in Oxford last summer – all my talks with Dave would be quiet, and calm. He was relaxed, at peace, not easily unsettled. In the middle of any Conference crisis, he would be the calm centre.
He’s found happiness in Croatia and has uprooted himself and was building a new home there, a future snatched from him and from Suzana, and from all his friends.
There will be many appreciations of Dave, of his life and his achievements, in the days to come. But on this sunny Spring day, my thoughts are with Suzana and with his family. And I’m sad I won’t be able to take him up on his invitation to visit him in Samobor.
12 April 2015