Iíll tackle this head on
Reporter: KEN BENNETT
Date online: 18 March 2014
AN OLDHAM councillor and former rugby star has spoken of his battle against cancer — and his determination to tackle the disease.
Saddleworth West and Lees councillor Adrian Alexander (59) is on a six-week, daily course of radio and chemotherapy treatment at The Christie.
Relaxing at his Moorside home, the distinguished sportsman talked about the moment specialists confirmed he had a nasal tumour.
“I was completely dumbfounded,” he said. “I was in a total state of shock. I was told about the tumour in a mobile medical centre, then stood outside in a car park in Rochdale. It was raining heavily and I just stood there and thought: ‘Does it all end here?’”
The shock revelation came after Adrian, a diabetic, had visited an Oldham optician complaining of problems which had caused a blockage in his ear and nasal passages.
Accompanied by Ginny, his wife of 24 years, the burly councillor said: “At first, I didn’t want to tell anyone. But there are people a lot worse off than me so I was determined to just knuckle down and get on with my life.”
The larger-than-life Labour councillor, born in Teddington, moved to Oldham more than 30 years ago to run the Shakespeare and Bath Hotel pubs and to play prop for Oldham Rugby team.
The former Union player had been in the Harlequins team for six years, was a member of the England under-23 squad and was in the last 50 players chosen for the British Lions.
He said proudly: “I’ve been deeply touched by the marvellous support, letters and cards I’ve received from sporting colleagues and friends around the world. It’s very gratifying.”
But he admitted: “I tried to keep the state of my health quiet but it hasn’t worked. When people found out, they complained they had not been told so I decided to talk about it. Actually I was amazed — it’s made me a lot stronger. It makes you feel wanted.”
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