Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

If Cameron Screws Up My Beloved NHS, I'll Come Back and Bloody Haunt Him; CLAIRE RAYNER 1931-2010 AGONY AUNT'S FINAL WORDS ARE RALLYING CRY FOR HEALTH SERVICE

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

If Cameron Screws Up My Beloved NHS, I'll Come Back and Bloody Haunt Him; CLAIRE RAYNER 1931-2010 AGONY AUNT'S FINAL WORDS ARE RALLYING CRY FOR HEALTH SERVICE

Article excerpt

Byline: Kiran Randhawa Health Correspondent

CLAIRE RAYNER wanted her final words to be a message to David Cameron telling him to protect her "beloved NHS", her family said today.

The agony aunt and patients' rights campaigner, who died yesterday at a hospital near her Harrow home, was renowned for her frank speaking.

She told the Prime Minister she would "come back and bloody haunt him" if he "screws up" the organisation she worked so passionately for.

Rayner, 79, who began her career as a nurse in London, never recovered from emergency intestinal surgery she had in May.

The author and journalist became a household name on problem pages in The Sun, Sunday Mirror and Woman's Own and appeared for many years on radio and TV programmes such as Pebble Mill At One, TV-am and Good Morning With Anne And Nick.

Her family today told of their devastation at her death and their pride for the woman who had helped "save thousands of lives" through her work. Her husband Des, 81, said: "I have lost my best friend and my soulmate. I am immensely proud of her."

The man who was also her manager and agent added: "Through her work she helped hundreds of thousands of people and doubtless, by talking frankly about the importance of safe sex in the Eighties when almost nobody else would discuss it, helped to save thousands of lives.

"Right up until her death she was being consulted by both politicians and the medical profession about the best way to provide the health services the nation deserved and nothing mattered to her more than that. Her death leaves a vacancy which will not be filled."

Her son, food critic and TV presenter Jay Rayner told how she fought until the end. He said: "She had been through a hell of a lot of health troubles over the last five months, and some of us thought towards the end that she actually just wanted to give up. …

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