Nick Hart, one of the UK’s leading plastic surgeons and international charity founder, passes away in Hull

Nicholas Hart, one of the country’s leading plastic surgeons and a major founding force behind the Hessle-based international children’s medical charity, the Overseas Plastic Surgery Appeal (OPSA), has passed away.

Nick, 73, dedicated much of his professional life to OPSA and the noble cause of improving the lives of children in developing countries through cleft lip palate and facial deformity surgery.

“It is with profound sadness and heavy hearts that the OPSA team announces the passing of Nick Hart,” said Rae McGlone, Trustee at OPSA, which undertakes reconstructive surgical procedures mainly cleft lip and palate, on babies, young children and some adults in developing countries.

“He leaves behind a legacy of extraordinary and selfless service.

“Nick’s commitment to transforming the lives of Pakistan’s children was unwavering. His tireless efforts and dedication have touched countless lives, and his impact will be felt for generations to come. We are immensely grateful for his remarkable contributions and his relentless pursuit of making a positive difference in the world.

“Nick utilised the best of Britain’s medical talent and expertise to uplift the lives of children in Pakistan. His visionary leadership and compassionate spirit have been instrumental in shaping OPSA into the charity it is today.

“While we mourn his loss, let us also celebrate the impact he made during his lifetime. May his memory continue to inspire us as we carry forward his mission and work towards a brighter future for all children.”

Nick’s surgical expertise extended across various fields, including breast surgery, hand surgery, aesthetic surgery, plastic and reconstructive surgery, and microvascular surgery.

But it was as cleft lip and palate surgeon for the Hull & East Yorkshire region, where he touched the hearts of many with his expertise and compassion and then as a founder of OPSA.

Since 1998, Nick has devoted himself to philanthropic endeavours, attending cleft lip and palate surgery camps in Pakistan once or twice a year, initially serving as the sole UK surgeon at cleft lip and palate surgery camps. Though he retired from surgery in 2015, his passion for serving others remained undiminished.

Nick served as chairman of OPSA, continuing to play a pivotal role in the charity’s mission, advocating for the rights of underprivileged children and families and raising awareness of their plight.

Under Nick’s leadership, OPSA now provides free surgeries to children in Pakistan with cleft lip and palate, burns, and other deformities and has established partnerships with local organisations, including The Decent Welfare Society and The Cleft Hospital in Gujrat, Pakistan.

Nick led volunteer teams of medical professionals to Gujrat, Pakistan, where they conducted thousands of surgeries and improved healthcare infrastructure in the region.

The surgeon’s commitment to excellence and compassion for those in need have earned him widespread recognition, including a British Community Honours Award in 2008.

Fellow surgeon and OPSA Trustee, Mr Muhammad Riaz, said: “My sole reason for taking up my consultant plastic surgeon job with him in Hull was to join him in his work. I am so proud that in his leadership OPSA…has not only provided the best care to thousands of patients, it has also provided training to a lot of trainees from Pakistan, the UK and other parts of the world.

“I have no doubt that the new generation of cleft surgeons from the UK and Pakistan, other health professionals and members of the OPSA team will continue his legacy and he will always be with us. Rest in Peace, Nick.”

Dr Mushahid, a surgeon in Pakistan, said: “Very sad news. He was…a dedicated professional and a down to earth man. May his soul rest in eternal peace and may his family have strength to bear this loss. He made a huge contribution in developing the cleft surgery centre in Gujrat. I personally learned a lot from him.”

Rae McGlone added: “I recall once being short staffed in theatres whilst on a OPSA surgical camp oversees. Nick just said “‘I’Il be the circulating nurse for this one’, ensuring that one team member got a break and all the checks and standards were maintained. What an example of humility!

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Nick’s beloved wife, Shirley, and his three children, Tim, Adrian, and Stephenie. May they find solace and strength in the memories of his remarkable life and legacy.

“We would also like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to the wonderful healthcare staff at Dove House Hospice for their compassionate care and support, ensuring Nick’s comfort in his last hours.”

Born 23rd April 1950 in Twickenham, Middlesex, Nick lived at Woodmansey, East Yorkshire. He passed away on March 1st, age 73, at Dove House Hospice, Hull, and a requiem mass was held at St John of Beverley Catholic Church on Wednesday 20th March.

The offices of OPSA are based at the head office of NLG in Hessle, East Yorkshire. As well as OPSA, NLG is active in supporting good causes and in the charity sector including Lincolnshire Emergency Blood Bikes Service (LEBBS) and the Sheffield-based Support Dogs charity.