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Anthony counts his blessings and reflects on top role after miracle escape

Just months after surviving a skydiving accident, Anthony Newman has taken on the role of Causeway Chamber President.

The 46-year-old, who lives and works in Kilrea, has defied medics who had warned that his "life-changing" injuries would mean he would be wheelchair-bound.


Father-of-three Anthony broke both legs, shattered seven ribs and fractured his pelvis and wrist during his 84th skydive in April.


He recalled:

"I remember free falling and choosing where I was going to land; the next thing I knew was waking up in intensive care at Altnagelvin Hospital three days later. I was very lucky; most people who have skydiving accidents suffer serious injuries.
I've had lots of physiotheraphy which is quite painful but that's what makes you better. They though I'd be in a wheelchair for a year, but apart apart from some-times needing to use a crutch, I'm back at work."

As well as being a partner with St James's Place wealth management company and dealing with clients' investments all over the globe, Anthony is chair of the Board of the Phoenix ADHD project, a cause close to his heart.


The Coleraine-based charity supports children and young people with Attention Deficit  Hyperactivity Disorder by equipping them with the skills which will enable them to manage the challenges they face and realise their full potential.


Born in London, Anthony grew up in Essex. Since moving to Northern Ireland 15 years ago, he has had no desire to leave.


He said

" It's a brilliant place, offering a great work life balance. Some people play golf, but for me, skydiving is a great stress reliever and if the doctor signed my legs off I'd do it again.

Role

Reflecting on his new Chamber role, Anthony said: "We are the voice of business across the entire Causeway Coast and Glens Council area; from Greysteel to Cloughmills and Cushenhall.

"Many of our successful businesses are rural; we need to be more inclusive. We work with other Chambers in Ballymoney, Ballycastle and Limavady; there is still a need for Chambers there to represent local issues."


He stressed: "Businesses are the engine for growth in the economy and partnership is vital. Northern Ireland has an educated workforce and many people are relocating back here, because of the lifestyle. I've seen huge changes; there is a great entrepreneurial spirit and it is a very exciting time to be Chamber President."


"We are going to have the first Enterprise Zone, we have a brilliant university and regional college, which we work closely with, and we also have strong links with the Enterprise Agency.


There are 5,500 VAT registered companies in the borough. "We need to create an environment where entrepreneurs are given the space to flourish; infrastructure needs to be improved, rural businesses need good broadband as well as road connections.

Tourism is a huge driver for this area; we need to exploit our beautiful surroundings to the best effect."


Anthony admitted being "stunned" by the Brexit vote, just days after returning from the first all-Ireland meeting between politicians and business leaders in Dublin.


He said: "The uncertainty of Brexit is hindering business investment decisions; it's the unknown. What's vital is that we are at the table and involved in discussions.


"We don't know yet what Brexit means or looks like; the Chamber took a neutral stance because our 160 members has mixed views; our job is to inform and lobby, not to take a stand.


"In the meantime we will continue to engage with elected representatives and council, representing the business interests of the whole borough."


This article was written by Julie Magee, The Chronicle

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