Nicola's sister Jessica Langlands has now taken over the running of this charity - contact can still me made on the current email address
Nicola Langlands Chairperson
My name is Nicola Langlands and in 1976 I was born with half of a heart At that time there was nothing the doctors could do for me. However, In 1989 when I was 13 years old I was rushed to Harefield Hospital where I was given the most wonderful gift by an amazing family who donated their son's Heart and Lungs, That was 24 years ago now, and I can honestly say I have lived the most amazing fulfilled life so far. It hasn't been easy, it's been very challenging and it's taught me a lot about myself and Transplantation, and the need for Transplant aftercare.
You can't heal over a few weeks , months or even years. It takes time and patience to really understand and deal with the issues that can affect you after the Transplant. Even now I'm still dealing with the after affects the Transplant has left me with, and I know there are lots more adults and children out there who are to finding it hard to deal with it to.
So, that is why I've set up Look Beyond the Heart. I guess I should tell you a bit more about the reason why I set up Look Beyond the Heart. After my Transplant I personally found the mental side to the Transplant more traumatic then the physical side. Now I don’t know if it was because I was only the 12th Child in the UK ever to have a Transplant, and it was all too new for even the doctors to understand.
I feel it would of been nice to have been able to mix with more children who like me had a Transplant, so that maybe I could understand a bit more about what was happening to my mind, body, soul and spirit. But sadly I had to deal with it on my own, and I did it the best I could without letting people know I really cracking up inside.
But in those days the risk of infections where a lot higher, and I only think it was higher because the doctor’s didn’t really know what to treat us with.
The medication was very strong and the side effects where very unkind to me and my body, but they were keeping me alive. On one side of the coin I was being made better and was able to live a fairly normal life, but on the other side I had different issue to deal with which I guess made me stronger. It would of been nice if there was an aftercare plan put into place, where each patient was offered Counselling ,Physio Therapy, Art Therapy and supporting a healthy diet.
I guess the real blessing that was sent to me after my Transplant was my beautiful daughter Megan. Having her after my Transplant not only healed my mind and body, but my spirit and soul. I know without her in my life I would be a lost soul.
Steve Hewlett Vice-Chairperson
When I was 12 in 1987 I watched a local ventriloquist called Jimmy Tamley Win the Grand Final of New Faces on TV, I was amazed at what he did with a dummy and I knocked on his door a few days later to ask for an autograph.
The following week my sister came home from school with a Ventriloquist dummy that her friend was about to throw away and I bought it from her for £5 with my paper round money.
The same month Ray Alan released a book called A Gottle o' Geer which taught you everything you need to know. I got the book that Christmas from my parents, learnt a lot, went back to Jimmy's with a small routine and became his pupil and eventually rodey.
At the age of 22 I turned Professional, so I have now been a Ventriloquist for 25 years this year (2012), Seeing Jimmy be this successful on TV was enough to make me want to do It. It meant making people laugh, kept me happy and off the Streets.
At school Work Experience gave us many choices for jobs for those 2 weeks, but working in a theatre was closest to my dream, I still wanted to take it further so asked if I could be a ventriloquist! They said NO and then gave in, and with the help from Jimmy I booked 65 shows around my hometown of Basingstoke at that time. In two and a half weeks I performed in schools and homes for the elderly. I enjoyed my 1st tour age 15.
I was reported in the National Booklet for Schools as the Most Unusual work experience of 1991. It is the best thing in the World making people laugh, it is a great feeling and I get more than that because being a ventriloquist means being a puppeteer and a comedian, and the technique has to be right so you impress people too.
Meeting people over the years has been interesting, I worked at the London Palladium when I was 20 as an Usher to gain theatre experience and do talent shows, I met people like Jonathan Pryce, John Travolta, Hugh Grant, Billy Connolly, Peter Cook but working in the business is a part of that, I have been very lucky to work with people like Michael Barrymore, Des O Connor, Jethro, and recently have spent the last 5 years touring with Ken Dodd.
My favourite night so far was working a Royal Gala evening for HRH Prince William & Miss Middleton (Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at the Thursford Christmas Spectacular one of the greatest British shows in the UK.
Steve has is own website which is www.thestevehewlettshow.com