'He is an inspiration and a teacher to us all': Lecturer pays tribute to Northampton university graduate who died after cancer battle

Dennis Newlove.
Dennis Newlove.

A University of Northampton student who enrolled on a course even though he had throat cancer has passed away - just weeks after graduating.

Dennis Newlove, 28, enrolled on the health studies and social care course in 2014, sometime after being diagnosed with throat cancer, and battled the disease throughout his three years on campus.

The disease spread to other parts of Dennis’s body, and after being admitted to Cynthia Spencer Hospice in June, the academics from his course decided to organise a private graduation at the hospice, rather than wait for July’s main ceremony.

Sindy Banga, senior health lecturer at the University of Northampton, said: “Dennis’s strength and upbeat spirit was present right until the end. He is an inspiration and a teacher to us all. He showed determination, resilience, hope, patience and positivity in the face of multiple adversities. Such admirable qualities in a young man have touched everyone who knew Dennis and will serve to guide us through difficult times in our own lives."

Dennis became too poorly to attend the main graduation ceremony at Northampton’s Royal & Derngate Theatre and died two days later surrounded by loved ones on Saturday 22 July.

She added: “I saw him straight after what would have been his graduation day on July 20, at Cynthia Spencer Hospice with a few graduation gifts from a collection, including a T-shirt with all graduates’ names printed on it, and a small graduation teddy bear. When I left him he was hugging and kissing his teddy and smiling.”

Speaking after his private graduation in June, Dennis said: “There cannot be an exact expression to describe how I feel today. Today is the best, and the beginning of the best to come.

“Studying for this degree has been very challenging, considering my health, but the university has proved to me that any challenge can be beaten.”

He went on to pay tribute to staff at the hospice, by saying: “The staff are more than a family. They have shown a lot of competence and passion in everything they do – in fact, I don’t even want to go home.”

Dennis’s funeral takes place in Northampton on Thursday.