Brave Derek loses fight for life

A BRAVE Motor Neurone Disease sufferer, whose family was calling for terminally ill patients to be allowed to end their lives, has died.Last night, tributes were paid to Derek Fry who died a Colchester's St Helena Hospice on Thursday with his daughter Lorna beside him.

A BRAVE Motor Neurone Disease sufferer, whose family was calling for terminally ill patients to be allowed to end their lives, has died.

Last night, tributes were paid to Derek Fry who died a Colchester's St Helena Hospice on Thursday with his daughter Lorna beside him. He was 58.

She said: "It was very peaceful, he just slowed down with his breathing and then it just stopped. We had all said our goodbyes to him and he had said 'don't worry about me'.

"Before all this, he was just a happy-go-lucky man who would do anything for anybody and he could not do enough for me and my brother – he was just the best dad ever."

Mr Fry had told his wife Lynn that he would have wanted to end his life if he could no longer cope with the pain. Last month, the East Anglian Daily Times reported how Mrs Fry, from Melrose Road, West Mersea, was calling for her husband – and others like him – to be given the right to die.

She said then: "What they are actually going through and what they have to put up with is chronic. Everybody should have the right to die if it is done properly.

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"I want to keep him for as long as I can but if he's suffering then I wholeheartedly agree with anything he wants to do."

Yesterday Lorna Fry said: "He never complained and everyone at the hospice said he was an amazing man because his heart was so strong. But he was in a coma and coming out of sedation and if we had thought he was going to linger we would have done all we could to have taken him to Switzerland for an injection.

"I do not know if he was in pain but it was awful to watch him deteriorate and we wanted him to go with dignity."

Motor Neurone Disease is the name given to the condition affecting the motor neurones in the brain and spinal cord. These are the nerve cells along which the brain sends instructions, in the form of electrical impulses, to the muscles.

It had stopped Mr Fry from being able to eat, talk and walk and meant he was able only to take food intravenously.

The couple realised something was wrong at the start of last summer when his speech became slurred. Mr Fry was diagnosed with the condition on June 21 2002 and his health deteriorated rapidly.

He spent the last three weeks of his life at St Helena Hospice, Colchester.

His family are determined to continue to campaign for a change in the law, as well as carry on the fundraising for the research into the condition and for the hospice.

Mr Fry himself undertook a range of fundraising ventures, including a parachute jump, and, just before he died, was delighted to learn they had reached their £10,000 target.

As well as his 53-year-old wife and daughter Lorna, 34, the former protection master for London Transport leaves a son Tony, 31, and four grandchildren.

A funeral service will be held at 2.30pm on March 17 at Corbets Tey Crematorium, Upminster. Mr Fry will be cremated in his beloved Liverpool football shirt and his family has asked that no black clothing be worn. Donations for research and for the hospice can also be made.

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