Agony aunt and campaigner Claire Rayner dies

Tuesday October 12, 2010

Claire Rayner, the agony aunt, writer and NHS campaigner, has died at the age of 79.

She never fully recovered from emergency intestinal surgery in May of this year, and passed away in hospital near her home in Harrow, north-west London.

Her husband of 53-years, and manager, Des Rayner said: "I have lost my best friend and my soul mate. I am immensely proud of her."

Claire - survived by children Amanda, Adam and Jay, and four grandchildren - told relatives she wanted her last words to be: "Tell David Cameron that if he screws up my beloved NHS, I'll come back and bloody haunt him."

A former nurse and midwife, Claire was president of the Patients Association for many years. She was also a successful novelist who was named medical journalist of the year in 1987.

In 1996, she was awarded an OBE for services to women's issues and health issues.

Her close friend Baroness Helena Kennedy described her as "an extraordinary women – passionate, committed, warm and exuberant.

"The key thing about Claire was that she was a campaigner to her toes – her mission was to improve the lot of others and she did it with great humility and common sense."

Photo: © Rex

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