Breathe

In early October 2017 Lizzy and I decided to visit the Kassam stadium cinema in Oxford to see “Goodbye Christopher Robin”. The trailer of a film called Breathe appeared on the screen and initially it meant absolutely nothing to me. I suddenly became very interested when a young man appeared in a very modified wheelchair having had a tracheotomy, and breathing using a ventilator underneath his wheelchair.

Suddenly the name Robin was mentioned, then Diana and finally Johnathan, immediately the penny dropped.   I realised this was a film depicting  the Cavendish family who in 1963 changed my life, by insisting I visited other disabled people in the Nuffield Orthopaedic hospital in Oxford.  Robin went on to change thousands of people’s lives young and old throughout the world who found themselves in similar circumstances to himself.

I had just started to develop a precast concrete company in the small village of Drayton St Leonard Oxfordshire, eventually producing 80 million products; whilst in the same village Robin Cavendish a Poliomyelitis victim unable to BREATHE without using a ventilator would change the lives of thousands of totally immobile Polio victims. By designing and building the specially adapted wheelchair, they would at last be free of the old style iron lung which had once imprisoned but saved their lives.