Monday, July 15, 2024

Amazing surprise on court for Nick Matthew

Nick Matthew meets transplant patient Paul Dowdall at Canary Wharf
Nick Matthew meets transplant patient Paul Dowdall at Canary Wharf

Kidney transplant survivor returns to watch Nick Matthew at Canary Wharf Classic
By FAYE ANDREWS at Canary Wharf 

Paul Dowdall, squash fan and kidney transplant survivor, made an emotional return to the Canary Wharf Squash Classic three years after receiving a call at the tournament that saved his life.

In 2012 Dowdall was a spectator in the crowd of Nick Matthew’s first round match when an unexpected announcement was made (by Squash Mad’s Alan Thatcher, the Canary Wharf MC) searching for the man from Essex with the news that a suitable kidney was available.

Dowdall had been on the kidney transplant list for three years when the call came through to the tournament office because Dowdall had switched off his phone while watching the match.

Alan said: “Luckily, I was the one who answered the phone call from the specialist trying to get hold of his patient and I was able to make the announcement straight away. Fortunately, Paul was in the front row and he was able to get to the hospital fairly quickly. I remember waiting until the end of the rally to make the announcement, but had it been a long rally I would probably have butted in.”

Paul was whisked off directly from Canary Wharf to The Royal London Hospital, where he underwent a successful transplant operation.

Thumbs-up from "Norm" as he meets Nick Matthew on court
Thumbs-up from “Norm” as he meets Nick Matthew on court


Dowdall, known as Norm to his friends, returned to the tournament tonight and this time was able to watch Nick Matthew complete his match against fellow Englishman Eddie Charlton. Following the match Matthew posed for a photo with the now recovered Dowdall and recalled his memory of the point where his match was halted:

“I remember it because there was an announcement mid-point and you’re thinking, can they not wait? But then you realise that there are more important things than a game of squash. They couldn’t get hold of him but they knew he was at the squash so they got him down there to the hospital. It was good to see him again and give him my best regards.”

Dowdall, a long-time squash fan who plays at the Redbridge club in Essex, was equally happy to be back at the tournament:

“I had been waiting for three years for a kidney so it was a bit of a surprise to hear my name called out in the middle of a match. My friends didn’t even realise they were calling for me because they all call me Norm, and obviously they made the announcement for Paul. It’s good to be back!”

Picture by STEVE LINE ( 


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