CELEBRATION OF LIFE for Dr Denis O'leary
Denis O’leary, one of the founders of the Oxford Centre for Medical Education (OxCME), was remembered with warmth and fondness at the end of the first OxCME Networking and Development day on 27th September 2019. Friends and colleagues who knew him well gathered to exchange memories and celebrate his life at the Unipart training centre, Oxford. Dr Hasanen Al-Taiar opened the session with memories of how Denis had supported him when he first came to Oxford in 2010. The relationship turned from one of mentor-mentee to that of close colleagues and friends, a recurring theme expressed by so many present.
Written tributes from people who were unable to join us were read out from Prof. Wendy Burn, President of Royal College of Psychiatrists, Dr Michael Bannon, POstgraduate Dean and Dr Jane da Roza Davis, Head of Oxford School of Psychiatry as well as a moving recorded message from Dr Kathleen M. Quinlan, Director of Centre for the Study of Higher Education and Director of Research, University of Kent.
We were delighted to welcome Pauline and Shona, Denis’s daughter and wife, who shared precious memories from Denis’ earlier life. The session ended with everyone present choosing images from a selection of postcards from across the world and using these to share more memories of times with Denis. Many recalled how Denis had supported them and helped them to reach fulfill their potential. Matt shared how he and Denis had together established a charity to help disabled people in Uganda called Health Development Trust. Others were reminded of Denis’ calmness, his tenacity, his interest in politics, his warmth and his generosity. Many talked of chocolate, good coffee, wine and meals shared in friendship. The range of images selected and wealth of stories reflected Denis’ multiplicity of interests, his energy and his determination to make every moment a valuable one.
The event was concluded by the official launching of the Denis O'Leary Award to highlight the fact that every end is also a new beginning. Denis is missed, however, he leaves friends, family and colleagues richer for having been part of his life.