All-round Wiltshire sportsman dies after 25-year battle with MS
Dedicated all-round sportsman Nick Newman has died after a 25-year battle with multiple sclerosis.
During his life, the 54-year-old father-of-two from Lea raced Formula Fords against the likes of Eddie Jordan and played county cricket for Wiltshire, as well as for Malmesbury Cricket Club and rugby in Minety.
He was also part of the Famous Grouse Western League winning team in 1985.
The all-round sportsman, who also enjoyed skiing, shooting and football, had been playing in a Minor Counties match for Wiltshire when he first noticed he was struggling with his coordination.
Tests and scan results later revealed Mr Newman had multiple sclerosis, which would mark the end of his sports playing success.
Born to Anthony and Shirley Newman, he lived in Lea throughout his early years, attending Athelstan School in Malmesbury, Filands, Stouts Hill in the Cotswolds and Wycliffe College in Stroud before going to work in his great uncle’s jewellery shop, Leonard Jones Jewellers, Cirencester.
It was during this time that his passion for Formula Fords flourished. Due to the clash between his desire to race, and his job in the jewellers which required him to work on a Saturday, Mr Newman left to work in his family’s abattoir.
A later job as an agent at the Carphone Group saw him looking after the likes of Graham Hick and other international cricketers.
Despite his talents both on the track in Formula Ford and on the pitch playing cricket and rugby, Mr Newman was unable to secure enough sponsorship to take his sports careers further.
His brother, Jeremy, said: “His real passion was his racing with Formula Ford all over the country and at Castle Combe but with the cost of everything he couldn’t get enough sponsorship to carry it on, but he was very good; he was a bit of a natural.
“He was good at rugby and could have played at high level.
“He didn’t say it himself but a lot of people thought he should because he was a fantastic player.”
Not long after he was diagnosed with MS, Mr Newman married Becky and they had two daughters Nicola, 22, and Ruth, 19.
He later got divorced and it was almost by chance that his met his partner of 17 years, Marion, when he put in an advert in The Lady magazine for someone to look after him.
“Marion was living in Lancashire at the time,” said Jeremy.
“She bought The Lady magazine for the first time ever and it was totally fate that she should buy it and see the advert.
“They met and got on well straight away.
“Nick wouldn’t have lasted as long as he did if she hadn’t been around, that’s for sure. They were very close.”
Despite his illness Mr Newman remained positive and rarely complained.
“He always kept his spirits remarkably high,” added Jeremy.
“He never complained about it and he kept this wonderful, jovial, mischievous perhaps, sense of humour. He needed to with the illness he had.
“More than anything he would get frustrated because his brain was well but he couldn’t do anything for himself at the end.”
Mr Newman’s funeral will take place at St Giles’ Church, Lea, on Friday, March 14, at 11.30am. Club and school ties are welcome and collections will be taken for Malmesbury Primary Care Trust and a multiple sclerosis charity.