Colleagues at INSRV and friends more widely around the university were saddened to hear of the sudden death of Nat Rowson on 22nd May 2011. Whilst many knew that time was short for Nat, no-one expected this to happen as quickly as it did.
Having graduated from Bangor University, Nat came to Cardiff to work at first in the Aberconway Library before moving to the recently opened Julian Hodge Study Centre as an IT Support Assistant. This gave him an ideal opportunity to help and support students in the largest open-access computing area in the university. During this time he developed his support skills, for which he possessed a natural flair and calm demeanour, and took the opportunity to move to a wider support role on the central help desk in Park Place. From here Nat took the opportunity to work as part of the university business support team before taking up a position supporting users of the Modern Working Environment (MWE).
This was just 3 years ago and around that time Nat started having health problems that necessitated extended periods of absence from work. Despite the many setbacks Nat's commitment to work was utmost and he took every opportunity throughout his treatment to return and get back into his new role. At work he was always eager to carry on as normal culminating in a strong desire to get staff and students here at Cardiff using the collaboration toolsets INSRV were releasing through the university portal.
Nat's health problems increased with the outcome that he was paralysed from the waist down. This didn't stop him though and with his smile and unwavering positive attitude always coming through, perhaps it wasn't a surprise how he fought back against the problems that life had thrown at him. I'm sure all his friends will remember last summer when Nat organised and completed a 10k Wheelathon challenge in aid of Whizz Kidz. 1 hour, 30 minutes and 7 seconds with donations amounting to over £2,500 was an amazing feat and a testament to his positive attitude to life. Also a staunch supporter of the NHS, Nat was ever grateful for the care and dedication afforded to him over recent years with his charity work on-going to the end.
Ultimately the tumors at the centre of Nat's mobility problems continued to develop in his spine and spreading quicker than anyone thought they resulting in his untimely death. Nat's funeral was a real celebration of his life and the fact that the majority of those who attended were in fancy dress (at his request) made it the day he would have wanted for us to remember him by.
Colleagues he had worked with over the years will remember Nat for his sense of humour and outgoing nature – we won't forget you Nat, our lives have been marked by your presence forever.