Classical pianist Anita D’Attellis from Henley recently raised more than £4,000 for the healthcare charity Sue Ryder in memory of her husband, John Downing (79), a legendary Fleet Street photographer.
John was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a type of lung cancer, in January 2019. His health deteriorated at the beginning of this year and, as the country went into lockdown due to the Coronavirus pandemic, John was able to spend his final days at home with his wife Anita thanks to the support of nurses from Sue Ryder’s South Oxfordshire Palliative Care Hub. He died on April 8, 2020.
His wife Anita, a professional pianist and music teacher, created an Incredible Memories Tribute Fund in John’s memory – a long-lasting way for people to remember their love one, it provides a place for the bereaved to share their special photos, thoughts and memories and can be a truly special way to celebrate the life of a loved one and do something positive in their name.
Sue Ryder runs hospices and Hospice at Home services across England, supporting people through the most difficult times of their lives, whether that’s a terminal illness, the loss of a loved one or a neurological condition.
Anita said that if John had needed to go to hospital during lockdown it would have been horrendous: “I would not have been able to visit him and spend the time with him that I did. I’m so grateful to the Sue Ryder team who kept coming during the lockdown despite all the extra measures they had to take… He really didn’t want to go into a hospital or hospice, he wanted to be at home.”
Anita is now encouraging donations to Sue Ryder, which was forced at the beginning of lockdown to close its shops and call off all fundraising events due to the global pandemic.