Thanks for taking the time to visit my fundraising page.
In memory of my darling husband Rog, I will be taking part in a 15,000 feet skydive. I will travel in a Cessna Super Cargomaster, the fastest tandem skydiving aircraft in the UK and will get to the jump altitude in 8 -12 minutes. The first 10,000 feet is freefall which takes 60 seconds, then the parachute will be opened slowly for the last 5,000 feet. A video and photographs will be taken from above and below, as a memento of my experience.
I lost my darling husband Rog to cancer on 11th June 2020. He was diagnosed with Bowel Cancer on 2nd January 2018.
Two weeks prior to Rog's diagnosis, I had been diagnosed with remitting & relapsing multiple sclerosis. So it wasn't a great time for us, as you can appreciate.
Rog went on to develop lung and liver secondaries (metastases). He battled so very hard, had 30 sessions of concurrent radiotherapy and 30 days of chemotherapy and came through 2 operations. But very sadly he began to weaken at the end of March 2020 and due to Covid, his Oncologist stopped his chemotherapy (wrong decision!!!). Rog wanted to pass away peacefully at home with me and I promised to be with him right to the end and I was. I held his hand and told him I loved him, as he slipped away and I continue to love him with the same energy and passion I've always had for him.
For those of you who knew Rog, you know what a love for life he had. He had an incredible sense of humour and he loved nothing better than to laugh at himself.
Even during his lowest moments, he told me he loved me every day, kissed me every day and made me laugh every day, as I did him, for 34 very special years.
In the gallery of photos you will see a gift Rog bought me from Lincolnshire Cathedral saying 'If I could choose again, I'd still choose you'. He said that to me every day too. This is engraved on his bench seat by his graveside, along with words associated with shooting and a pheasant and duck; there is even an engraving of a shotgun underneath.
Rog was still clay pigeon shooting up until mid March 2020, it was his absolute passion (other than me of course). He'd taught me to shoot and so it was something we had great fun doing together every weekend. We're both left handed too which made it easier. However my shooting ability is no where near a match for his as he had a real gift, but I do my best. In 2004 at Hemlock Shooting Ground, Rog had won the Club Championship and I the Ladies Class (see the photo with the two shields). That was the year I hit my first 40 out of 50, thanks to Rog's great tuition.
Rog was a cracking shot and it was a pleasure to watch him, with his easy call of 'pull' and his smooth shooting style. He could read the trajectory of a clay like no-one else. He has many trophies that bring back many happy memories. His 2 greatest claims to fame were winning a Winchester shotgun and cartridges in a competition sponsored by Sporting Gun and teaching a blind man to shoot. He was coaching a group of lads on a corporate day and this man's mates in a bit of friendly banter said "we'll buy you a pint for every clay you hit". Rog was an incredible teacher. As someone with a disability, who never gave up, he successfully got this man to hit 11 clays by asking him to imagine a clock face and telling him where abouts the clay would be, then he'd tell him when to squeeze the trigger, whilst Rog held the barrels. Anyway, this man consequently ended up with his mates owing him 11 pints and was incredibly happy, as he really didn't expect to be able to take part at all. I'm not sure who was proudest, Rog or the man who hit the clays.
I'd like to thank all of our clay shooting friends for their support of Rog and I and the following shooting grounds, Marina Sporting Clays, Lakeside Sporting, Borders Wood, Kibworth, Orston, East Midlands, Dovey Valley in Wales and Prestwold Hall when many years ago Rog was a beater and the beaters shot against the walking guns, of course the beaters won, there was no competition 😀 All the grounds have given us some fantastic memories over the years.
Although Rog had a disability (Poland syndrome), he refused to be defined by it, it just made him stronger and more determined. His success with his shooting was a testament to this. He shot a straight in every shooting discipline except for one, but that was to be his next challenge, sadly he never got the opportunity.
Rog was competitive in everything he did, whether it was clay pigeon shooting, trials biking, course and sea fishing, darts, table tennis, cards or even monopoly. Whatever he did, he excelled at. He just loved a challenge. I was and I still am so incredibly proud of him.
We've always given to charity but Rog and I have been fundraising solely for CRUK since 2015; it was Rog's idea. When he was due to turn 70, I held a fancy dress birthday party for him and he asked for donations to CRUK in lieu of gifts. He absolutely loved fancy dress, we both loved parties and dancing, especially rock n roll. We held 5 more parties, his last being for his 75th birthday. During that period we raised over £10,000.
When Rog passed away, he'd left strict instructions that no one should send flowers, instead he wanted donations to CRUK. The daughter of a dear friend very kindly made an evergreen tribute to place on his casket. His casket was made from the leaves of plants from the wetlands of Indonesia. Rog was passionate about conservation and the countryside, so everything that came from the ground was returned to the ground. Thanks to family and friends a further £5,000 was raised at Rog's funeral and afterwards.
Rog also said no-one should wear black at his funeral, they had to wear colour and that the ladies should wear stockings and suspenders!! Well we couldn't let a good man down and so that's what we did. It's just a shame that due to Covid, numbers were limited to 40.
Rog had picked his own plot at Prestwold Natural Burial ground; this ground was very special to him as he used to shoot on the land, before it was gifted for use as a natural burial ground. He picked most of the music and readings too. It was the most special outside service, held in the countryside he loved, for a very special man and said everything about him.
Rog was my whole life and I miss him more than I can say. It was love at first sight for me and I was so very lucky that he was the first man to kiss me and he made me so very happy for 34 years. Rog was a lot older than me (there was a lot of undisguised "it won't last" comments), but it didn't matter to us and we didn't see it. Neither of us cared a damn what other people thought, I still don't. Rog would say "that's their problem, I only care about us". My mum said "better to be an old man's darling than a young man's fool". He loved my parents and they loved him too; there is a lovely photo of the 4 us on a boat on the river soar. There aren't many couples that are as happy and committed to each other as we were for 34 years. A very large part of me is missing and Rog was the best part me. I only wish I was as brave and kind as he was.
The past year has been a hard one for me but my memories of Rog have kept me going. I have recently gone back to clay pigeon shooting after a break of over 14 months. I can hear his advice in my head, "shoot where it's going, not where it's been", "push on" and "if it's not working, do something different', that could be shoot more in front or shoot underneath, change the selector on my barrels or try a different cartridge. That advice has helped me so much recently and I talk to him as I'm shooting. Goodness knows what people think when they hear me!!
I've even signed up with a Personal Trainer (Nixon) for one hour twice per week at Rothley Fitness Studio. For anyone who knows me, they will know this is totally out of character for me as I hate exercise. However, this has been the best decision I've ever made, other than meeting and marrying my wonderful Rog of course.
In 2015 a friend and I took part in a 262 feet abseil of the Arcelormittal Orbit, the red tower in the Olympic Village in London. I had t-shirts made bearing the SAS dagger logo on the back and it read SAS Special Abseil Service on the front. I thought this might give us courage and it did. Again this was for CRUK and Rog took some video and photos of us, with his feet firmly on the ground of course 🙂
I visit Rog 3-7 days per week to tell him about my day. It was on one of those days, that I was telling him about a book that some very dear friends had bought me. It was written by Jamie Hull a member of the SAS who suffered horrendous burns whilst flying solo. I have a huge respect for all members of the forces and especially the SAS and read any book about them or written by them. This book showed me what can be achieved by having determination, it inspired me so much and one of his challenges was to learn to skydive. So whilst talking to Rog, I suddenly found myself booking myself on to a Skydive for CRUK. Rog hated heights and used to say "why jump out of a perfectly good aeroplane?", but I know if he was here now, he'd be right behind me, beaming widely and cheering me on. Saying "that's my wife!!" with pride.
Rog had a strong belief that CRUK will eventually find a way to cure all cancers, so it's my duty to carry on Rog's fundraising legacy to help save lives. So this might not be the last time I'm begging for sponsorship.
Cancer is happening right now, which is why I’m fundraising right now for Cancer Research UK. There’s no time to lose! Donate to my page today and help bring forward the day when all cancers are cured.
Thank you all in anticipation and grateful thanks to those of you who have already sponsored me.
But most of all, thanks to you Rog, as without you my darling man, I wouldn't be the person I am today.
With much love until we meet again.
Your Liz xxx