Nikki's personal crusade takes to stage

By Sue Austin | Bishop's Castle | News | Published:

In 1990 Nikki Kenward had everything she wanted, newly married with a baby son, Alfie, loving husband, Merv, and a career as a theatre manager.

Then she contracted Guillian-Barre syndrome which left her completely paralysed for five months.

She found herself locked into her own body able only to move one eye and admits that at times her life seemed unbearable.

Yet, 27 years later Mrs Kenward, from Aston-on-Club, who still has disabilities, is a passionate campaigner against assisted suicide.

She has written a play, 5 A Day, which will have its premier at the SpArC Theatre in Bishop's Castle on October 25.

The play looks at the search for a 'good death' an end without pain,loneliness or fear.

Mrs Kenward, 64, said her personal experience had led her and her husband to a legal challenge against euthanasia and her campaigning, which has included a performance on the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square in London.

When she was 'locked in' she said there were times when she wanted to die.

"If you'd asked me then, I would have said I'd rather not live. Just one of my eyes would open and I think if my family had been asked by the hospital they'd have opted to end my life. I hadn't seen Alfie for months and the thought of him being without me broke my heart more than what was happening to me."


Now, having seen her son grow up, she is grateful that there was not the choice for her or her family to make. She said she is living proof that people should carry on living.

"People ask is what I went through worse than death - I don't know, because I have never been dead," she said.

She and her husband are part of the campaign group, Distant Voices.

"I believe that suicide is not the answer, the answer is to be cared for with absolutely brilliant, palliative care."


Mrs Kenward is hoping that people will go along to the 5 A Day play which is being produced with Distant Voices to hear a different view to dying.

She says the play asks tough questions as it delves into the risk to disabled people, the elderly, the locked-in, and terminally ill children.

"We are determined not to preach to the converted. Euthanasia is a polarising and deeply personal issue. Our aim is to get our audience asking the question, in a debate that has so far been very one sided. We don't want people to end their lives in unnecessary, uncontrollable pain."

Tickets for the production are available from SpArC Theatre, 01588 630321 or 01588 638038 or by email

Sue Austin

By Sue Austin
Chief Reporter

Chief reporter of the Oswestry/Mid Wales office. Keen to hear your news.


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