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News: Inspirational Owen uses his experiences to help others with disabilities

Please note: This news story may contain information that is no longer current or up to date.
Owen Brindley and Lecturer Mary Flintoff
Owen Brindley and Lecturer Mary Flintoff

A student who has been battling with disabilities and illness his entire life is proving you can do anything you set your mind to.

Twenty-year-old Owen Brindley, from Bilborough, was born without a kidney, suffers from hearing and speech problems, and is fed through a PEG (Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastronomy). He has undergone more than 30 operations during his life, but despite this Owen is using his love of entertaining people to help others who may be struggling.

When I was young, I was born without any kidneys so my mum gave me one of hers 15 years ago which was amazing, and probably saved my life! I wear two hearing aids which without them I wouldn’t be able to hear anyone. I’ve always been NIL by mouth, since I was born but I don’t let it stop me doing the things I enjoy. 

 — Owen Brindley

Owen is studying a Level 3 qualification in personal and social development and Level 1 functional skills in Maths and English at Nottingham College alongside his role of Students’ Union Disability Officer. In his spare time Owen also co-presents Smashhitz’, a community radio station run by YMCA Digital and supports charities such as Nottingham Clubs for Young People and When you Wish Upon a Star.

He said: When I was young I was granted two wishes from When you Wish Upon a Star. The first allowed me to become a Butlins Red Coat entertainer which I really enjoyed and was where my love of performing and entertaining people got started. These wishes made such a difference to me when I was younger and that’s why it’s so important to me that I raise money for the charity; to give other young people the opportunity to have their wishes too.”

Owen has been using sign language since he was at primary school. He signed songs from The Greatest Showman at the College’s recent Freshers’ Fair event, and won a talent competition whilst on holiday in the Isle of Wight earlier this year. He is set to compete in the semi-finals on the 5th October. 

Being able to use my experiences to help others with disabilities at College and in the community is such a good feeling. 

 — Owen Brindley

Nottingham College Lecturer Mary Flintoff (pictured with Owen in the main photo above) bumped into Owen at the College’s Freshers’ Fair. She had this to say: I taught Owen in Year 10 and I’ve just seen him perform in front of Nottingham College students and sign two beautiful songs, and he’s flourishing and doing brilliantly. I’m so proud of Owen and I’m so proud of how far he’s come.” 

Owen has made a fantastic start in developing a new Students’ Union role within the College, as we are passionate about ensuring all our students’ voices are heard at every level. He is enthusiastic, passionate and has lots of great ideas about supporting students with disabilities, to get the most out of their student experience. He is a pleasure to work with, and his performance at our Freshers’ Fair signing with Zuzka — Singer and Guitarist was a real highlight of the day. 

 — Nottingham College Wellbeing Manager, Laura Archer
Published on:
  • 20th September 2019 (4:03 PM)
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