Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

This Christmas Will Probably Be My Last; Festivities Are Held Early for Terminally Ill Grandad

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

This Christmas Will Probably Be My Last; Festivities Are Held Early for Terminally Ill Grandad

Article excerpt

Byline: KATIE DICKINSON Reporter katie.dickinson@trinitymirror.com @KATIEJDICKINSON

A terminally ill grandad has fulfilled his wish of having one last family Christmas - by celebrating it six weeks early.

Anthony Smith was given between two and six months to live when he was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer in May.

The sudden and heartbreaking diagnosis meant the 54-year-old was unlikely to live to the end of the year, and threw the festive period into doubt.

But Anthony was determined to spend one last Christmas with his family - and to be there for his seven-month-old granddaughter Betsy's first.

The family simply decided to bring Christmas forward by six weeks and hired out a country house in Yorkshire for a celebration to remember. "When I booked it I didn't know if I'd be around for Christmas," said Anthony, from South Shields.

Smith 54, diagnosed cancer "We hired a lovely big house just outside Leeds and spent the whole weekend there."

Anthony and his wife Hazel were joined by 23 family members including children, stepchildren, siblings, and his first grandchild Betsy, who was born shortly before his cancer diagnosis.

The dad-of-three said: "Saturday was our Christmas Day - we hired a chef to come in and cook us Christmas dinner, and had party games afterwards.

"Then on Sunday we did normal Boxing Day things and had a murder mystery night, which was a good laugh."

Relatives travelled from all over the country to join Anthony for what he feared would be his last Christmas.

"We had people from Sussex, Manchester, South Shields and Dar-lington," he said. "It was fantastic - everybody said even if it hadn't been about me being ill, it was the best Christmas they'd ever had.

"People don't get together like that very often and it's strange to think that if I hadn't been ill it wouldn't have happened. …

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