Our Life President is David Kirby OBE who established the OPA in 1985
David Kirby - Life President
The Oesophageal Patients Association (OPA) was founded in 1985 by David Kirby following his recovery from oesophageal cancer. Curative treatment involves major surgery which inevitably results in some long term digestive problems. David found that talking to new patients about his own experience was immensely helpful to them as they faced their own treatment, and could improve their attitude of mind. David visited patients in hospital every week for many years and spoke at conferences in the UK and abroad. He was awarded an OBE in 2000 and the OPA has expanded with many branches around the UK. David is the life time President for the OPA.
David Chuter - Chairman
Dave is the NICE representative for the OPA.
Dave was diagnosed with Oesophageal cancer and had an Oesophagectomy in 2006. At that time no local patient support was available in the Guildford area, something which Dave and his family very much needed. Dave then worked with the Royal Surrey County Hospital Ooesophago-gastric medical team to set up a support group for local patients. One of the first speakers way back in December 2006 was David Kirby who founded the OPA and is now the life president. Since then Dave has been involved with the OPA as a volunteer and organiser of the OPA Guildford branch.
The Guildford OPA support group have been working collaboratively with CRUK, and working with Eli Lilly in the production of an OPA DVD. You can order a free copy of this DVD from the OPA Online Shop.
Dave's day job is in print sales, married 44 years this year, I have 2 daughters, 2 grandsons and a dog.
John Campolini - Vice Chair
John was diagnosed with Oesophageal Cancer, and over 3 and an half years ago underwent surgery at St Thomas’ under the great care of Bob Mason and James Gossage plus a whole raft of dedicated and wonderful medical staff. By way of background information John comes from an Italian immigrant family from a small village in the South of Italy and like lots of Italians in the 1930’s who came to the UK where his parents made and sold ice cream! He left school and after a number of jobs from a musician to mechanical engineer in the pharmaceutical industry retired after 36 years in the criminal justice system. John's Italian heritage is very important to him as are his son, daughter and two granddaughters. John has belonged to the Knights of St Columba, a Catholic charity, which looks after the less fortunate in our society for over 51 years and is a licensed radio ham (call sign G0CRI).
Since being cured of his Cancer, John has, at every opportunity when speaking to groups of people, raised awareness of reflux and the consequences of ignoring the problem and at the same time urging people suffering from reflux to ask to be referred to specialists as soon as possible. Sadly John's father died from Oesophageal Cancer over 30 years ago and his 45 year old son is being monitored for the same condition.
"My hope is that we support each other in various ways such as meeting up, having discussion groups, inviting specialist speakers to our meetings"
John became aware of the need to consult his GP when he experienced difficulty in swallowing whilst on holiday in Seville in 2010, shortly after his retirement. He had an oesophagectomy in October 2010 after a course of chemotherapy. The CT scan also revealed an enlarged polyp in the colon that was removed surgically at the same time. There were subsequent complications from the removal of the polyp that led to emergency surgery for an infarction of the bowel, a temporary stoma and a subsequent reversal in 2013.
John and his wife Marisol are very grateful for the support they received from the OPA and became active members of the local group. John is now the chair and Sol the secretary of the Leeds Regional group. He is the OPA representative on the NOGCA the National Oesopho-Gastric Cancer Audit and the Oesphago-Gastric Working Group (Cancer Surgery Service Review).
He spent most of his working life in further education and was principal and chief executive of colleges in Sheffield, Leeds. Doncaster and Preston; at Sheffield he was responsible for 1500 staff, 25000 students and a budget of £50 million. He also lectured in colleges in Staffordshire, West Sussex and Cheshire. He is a governor of Leeds Trinity University and a member of the Audit, Governance and Remuneration Committees, chairs St Monica’s Housing Ltd that provides accommodation for asylum seekers and is a trustee of the Charles Plater Trust and chairs its Finance Committee. He was previously a national non-executive director of the Learning and Skills Council that was responsible for the planning and funding of further education with a budget of £11 billion and was a member of the Audit and Capital Committees. He also chaired the British Education Communications and Technology agency charged with the development of information technology in schools and colleges with a budget of £40 million and of Wheatfields Hospice in Leeds and a national board member of the Joint Information Services Committee (JISC) of the Higher Education Funding Agency with a budget of £40 million.
He is married to Sol and they have three children and seven grandchildren. He was a keen sportsman retiring from playing cricket just before his operation and is now an avid spectator following Hull City and Yorkshire CC. He enjoys walking in the Yorkshire Moors and spending time with his grandchildren who live in Epsom, Aboyne, and Leeds.
Philip retired in 2015 after 20 years nursing as a second career, before which he had been a curator, researcher, writer and lecturer in the field of art museums and galleries. He is also a carer for his survivor partner who had surgery for oesophageal cancer in 2005. Philip divides his time between London, where he continues occasionally to do some research and writing on the history of art collecting and dealing, and west Wales, where Peter now lives.
Paul is a chartered accountant with extensive experience in the manufacturing and construction sectors. Before retiring in 2015, he held a number of senior positions with the engineering group GKN, including Financial Controller of their factory in Italy and Finance Director of their Asia Pacific region. He has previously served as a trustee of The Shakespeare Hospice, a £2m charity in South Warwickshire, and BasicNeeds, a £1.5m charity providing mental health services in developing countries.
Paul is lucky. He was tested for various digestive issues in 2017, but found to be free of cancer. He did, however, have to take a long course of proton pump inhibitors to treat oesophagitis, and to have part of his colon removed as a preventative measure.
Edward Cheong - (CAP)
Grant Fullerton - (CAP)
Grant is the lead Oesophago-Gastric Consultant Surgeon in Glasgow Royal Infirmary with major interests in management of malignant and complex benign upper GI disease. Grant is an Associate Professor of Clinical Surgery with extensive research interest in benign and malignant upper GI disease. His particular interest is in the field of Barretts oesophagus including its role in cancer development and treatment with Radiofrequency Ablation.