Neil Mortensen, Chairman of Occtopus, Professor of Colorectal Surgery in the University of Oxford, Vice President of the Royal College of Surgeons of England & Wales, was appointed to Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals in 1987.

Since then, he has long campaigned for the recognition of colorectal surgery as a speciality and developed several research projects with the University.

We are now delighted to report that Prof Mortensen has been instrumental in creating a permanent Chair for Colorectal Surgery at the University of Oxford with the support of the Pharsalia Charitable Trust. His own position was a personal Chair and would otherwise have discontinued on his retirement.

The Chair will be named the Richard Blackwell Pharsalia Professorship in Colorectal Surgery. Professor Mortensen says: “I am so pleased this Chair will be endowed in perpetuity. Establishing this Chair further raises the profile and credibility of colorectal surgery within Oxford University. It assures Oxford’s reputation as a world leader for advancing surgical innovation to combat colorectal disease.”

The chair has been supported by Nigel Blackwell, Senior Trustee of the Pharsalia Charitable Trust, and is named after his father, Richard Blackwell. We expect the first Chair in Colorectal Surgery in Oxford to be filled later this year.

The impact of the Richard Blackwell Pharsalia Professorship in Colorectal Surgery will be substantial, assuring major investment in advancing knowledge and expertise in colorectal conditions and related health issues. The value of this work in informing other areas of research beyond this specific area of medicine will also be considerable.

For Nigel Blackwell, the endowment of this chair in his father’s name has great personal resonance: ‘My father, Richard Blackwell, was a man of virtue and principle, generous and self-effacing. His faith and beliefs were shaped by the experience of wartime service in the Royal Navy, where he saw action and hardship and was decorated for bravery.”

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