Dr André Nell – a South Coast legend whose legacy will live on

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The South Coast is mourning the loss of one of its greatest servants, Dr. André Nell, who passed away at his Umtentweni residence earlier this week.

Quintin van Jaarsveld, deputy editor of eHowzit, pays tribute to the legendary local medical practitioner and long-serving Chief Medical Officer at South Coast Hospice

Dr. André Nell’s passing is a great loss to the South Coast. He was a pillar of the community…one of the most well-known, beloved, respected and influential individuals of his time.

Through his practice, and as one of South Coast Hospice’s greatest-ever heroes, he touched the lives of so many, providing patients with care and comfort during their darkest days.

He rose above the trauma of an armed robbery, which left him paralysed, to continue to serve his community, without fear or bitterness. He was an inspiration and an icon, who taught me – and I’m sure, all who knew him – that life is what you make of it.

In the 20 years I knew him, he always had a smile on his face. Despite the frustrations, the complications and the setbacks, there was the ever-present smile of a man stronger than most, who refused to let a harrowing, life-changing tragedy rob him of his will to live, love and make a difference.

With his immense character, the jovial manner in which he lived life to the fullest and unshaken sense of humour, he lit up every room he entered. From those around him, there was no pity, just praise, often audibly but always internally.

My family and I are among those whose lives he enriched. When my world came crashing down and I suddenly found myself in a similar situation as him, he helped us pick up the pieces.

Through his uniquely unfortunate personal experience, coupled with his professional pedigree, I couldn’t have asked for a better doctor. He was truly a Godsend. I would, unquestionably, not be where I am today – physically, psychologically and professionally – without his sustained care and guidance over the years.

He was brutally honest at times, which I always appreciated, and prepared us, as a family, for our new reality. For two decades, he was there for us 24/7 and went out of his way to help whenever fresh challenges came our way.

His might not always have been the easiest or grandest of lives, yet, it was one of the most meaningful. He will go down in history as a strong and selfless South Coast champion, the likes of which the region had never seen before, or, will ever be graced with again.

Now that’s a legacy worth leaving behind – one that will surely stand the test of time.

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