Chris will be remembered as a unique human being. He was a kind, generous, funny man. His humour was quick, intelligent and often quirky. He was never afraid to say what he thought and his honesty was one of his most endearing qualities. He was extremely stoic, never complaining about his long working hours or, in the latter months, about his serious illness. His professionalism in his working life coupled with a sensitive nature and ability to bring laughter to any situation won him many fans with his work colleagues. He was an extremely caring and loving husband and father. He touched everyone with whom he came into contact and was genuinely loved by all. His loss has left all of his family, friends and colleagues truly devastated.
Chris was born and raised in Birmingham, the son of Georgina and Christopher. He was the fifth of eight children, having 2 brothers and 5 sisters. Sadly, one of his sisters, Mary, died in 1992 from breast cancer.
He was a very intelligent boy, passed the eleven plus and moved to a boys’ Catholic grammar school (St Thomas Aquinas) where he forged strong friendships that survived throughout his life. After leaving school he gained a place studying Economics at L.S.E. His love and connection with London and the city began then and continued throughout his working life. He studied accountancy after his degree and worked in various financial institutions in and around London, including the Bank of America with whom he travelled to various places around the world.
Chris had first met Sue when he was at school. In 1992 whilst working at the Bank of America they met again at a friend’s wedding. They were married less than 2 years later and went on to have two daughters, Elen and Ciara.
After moving from London to be with Sue in Birmingham, Chris worked for Windsor Insurance, commuting every day the 120 mile round trip to the office in Shrewsbury. He did this for 10 years before the family moved to Shrewsbury. In his working life he was known for his hard work and attention to detail, working long hours, sometimes through the night. He was promoted to Finance Director and was a key figure in the success of the company over the next few years. When it was sold profitably to a larger company in 2013, Chris opted to take redundancy, allowing him time to enjoy some well-earned leisure and family time. It was, sadly, during this period that Chris started to become unwell.
“We want to continue to raise lots of money for the charity to find a cure for this horrible illness and we want to do it in Chris’s name so that he will never be forgotten”
In around February 2014 Chris developed a nagging headache which he put down to “man flu” and only reluctantly went to the GP. The doctor could find nothing untoward and advised him to return if the headaches persisted. After two further trips to the doctor and a planned CT brain scan, he collapsed at home on the 5 April and was rushed to hospital. An MRI scan indicated that Chris had a large tumour in the centre and to the right of his brain. He was transferred to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham where the neurosurgeons confirmed that the tumour was a glioblastoma grade 4. This was, they explained, not only incurable, but extended down into such vital parts of his brain that they would not be able to remove it all. Chris had his operation on the 16 April. The “debulking”, as they like to refer to it, left him with pronounced weakness down the left side of his body and left sided neglect which meant that Chris ignored everything in the left side of his vision. He was transferred back to the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital for rehabilitation and was eventually discharged home on the 16 May.
Following this Chris was given a six week course of radiotherapy with adjuvant chemotherapy, ending on the 18 July. At this point his family had noticed that Chris was becoming increasingly forgetful and confused. Despite this, Sue and Chris managed to travel down to the South of France by train in August to the meet their two daughters and the family spent an enjoyable and relaxing holiday together. However, it was becoming clear that Chris’s tiredness and confusion were becoming more pronounced. The end of the holiday was punctuated by a brief admission to Cannes Hospital after Chris started to vomit. After returning home he appeared quite well for a few days but his vomiting recurred. He was admitted to the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital where an MRI scan revealed that his tumour had regrown. The doctors informed the family that no further treatment would be effective and predicted that Chris had only days to live. Subsequently his condition rapidly deteriorated and he was transferred to the Severn Hospice, where two days later, on the 18 September 2014, he passed away peacefully.
Chris was a young, fit and healthy man. He had never smoked and had never taken a day off sick. Nobody could tell Chris what caused his tumour other than “bad luck” and, after being given the diagnosis, he never had the luxury of being told he had a chance of survival. We want to help to change this so that in the future some brain tumours could be prevented and that those unlucky enough to be diagnosed could be given the chance to live a good long life.
Chris’s family were made aware of The Brain Tumour Charity when Chris first became ill and derived a lot of support and information from it. At his funeral, mourners gave donations rather than sending flowers and raised over £620. His brother announced at the funeral that an annual golf match would be started in Chris’s honour to raise money for the charity. When Chris was ill, Ciara nominated The Brian Tumour Charity as the recipient of money raised from a charity fashion show at her school which raised about £2000. Elen has nominated the charity as the recipient for her university netball team 2014/5 charity drive.