Lord Carey, Lesley Close, Christine Eeley and the late Isobel Kennerley's husband Scott
THE former Archbishop of Canterbury and Newbury resident Lord Carey attended the first meeting of a new group, set up to allow terminally-ill people the right to die.
Newbury mother Christine Eeley set up the Dignity in Dying group in West Berkshire after her daughter, Isobel Kennerley, died aged 34 from a brain tumour on May 4 this year.
Mrs Eeley described how she watched helplessly as her daughter begged for help as her health deteriorated in the final days.
The first meeting of the newly-formed group was held at Newbury Town Hall on Saturday.
Lord Carey explained to the 28 attendees his rationale for changing his opinion regarding assisted dying, and said: “What kind of society do we have if we don’t recognise the need for this?
“Hospices are wonderful places, but palliative care alone does not always suffice.”
Mrs Eeley also addressed the meeting and said: “Isobel should not have had to suffer such a prolonged, agonising and distressing death, and neither should anyone else.
“To make matters worse, she became an inconvenience as, although we were told she probably had no longer than three days to live when she went into the hospice at the end of March, she actually survived for a further seven weeks.
“During this time, she was forced, even though she could barely speak, to agree to being moved to a care home to die as the hospice is not a long-term stay unit.
“Her case was forwarded to the Continuing Care Commission, who disgustingly offered her a bed in an old people’s home.
“I was understandably adamant that she would not suffer the indignity of ending her days is such a place, but was told that Isobel could be taken to court and evicted if she refused to go.
“So, rather than her husband and I spending those last precious weeks with our brave and beautiful terminally-ill girl, who was by this time completely trapped in her body and could do absolutely nothing for herself except howl in pain, we were seeking legal advice.
“Fortunately, she eventually became too ill to be moved and thankfully died in the hospice.”
Mrs Eeley added: “Dignity in Dying West Berkshire is now well and truly on the map.
“We are adding our voices to a growing campaign and believe it is a case of when, and not if, the law changes.”
Dignity in Dying is a not-for-profit membership organisation which campaigns to legalise assisted dying within upfront safeguards for terminally-ill, mentally competent adults with a terminal diagnosis and a prognosis of less than six months.
It campaigns to give such people choice and control over the time and place of their death.
If you would like to be involved with the group, contact Mrs Eeley on 07748 114833 or email firstname.lastname@example.org