Politics

‘This wasn’t the end my father deserved’: Families push for assisted dying law change



W

ith peers set to debate the second reading of Baroness Meacher’s Assisted Dying Bill on Friday, the families and friends of terminally ill loved ones who have felt suicide was the only option for them tell why they want to see a change to the current law.

The bill would legalise assisted dying as a choice for terminally ill, mentally competent adults in their final months of life.

Barbara’s story

Barbara Wall, from Bromley in south east London, is supporting Baroness Meacher’s Assisted Dying Bill

/ Dignity in Dying

“What constantly comes to my mind is that none of this need have happened,” said Barbara Wall, 67, from Bromley in south east London.

“My Dad should have been able to decide when the time was right for him and be supported to die on his own terms.”

But, on November 13, 2016, Mrs Wall’s father, Charles Cencil Kentish, 94, took his own life after months of living with terminal oesophageal cancer.

He constantly told his doctor and relatives he wanted to die but, under current law, assisted dying is illegal in England and Wales, carrying a prison sentence of up to 14 years.

Mr Kentish, known as Charlie, relocated to Norfolk in retirement, having served in the Army and run a clothing business for many years.

After the death of his wife Elsie, in 2010, Charlie lived alone but made friends and would regularly enjoy lunches with neighbours and days out to the nearby racetrack.

Mrs Wall said: “He was very sociable and talkative, never someone to sit in silence, very engaged with politics and current affairs.”

Charles Cencil Kentish, 94, took his own life after months of living with terminal oesophageal cancer

/ Barbara Wall

In January 2016, Charlie had been diagnosed with incurable cancer after struggling to swallow for some time.



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