R.I.P Uncle Roger

I’ve been fairly quite on social media recently (well by my standards).

As a family we’ve been dealing with an issue that I couldn’t articulate without appearing mawkish or attention seeking.

My husband’s uncle was diagnosed with terminal cancer last year. This uncle has been a second father to my husband, and a third grandfather to my children.

About 4 weeks ago we had a call that told us his time left was going to be extremely short.

At that point we chose to explain what was happening to the children, it felt wrong not to explain and have him suddenly disappear from their lives. My 9 year old daughter understood immediately, the 5 year old understood in a way that five year olds do. We also made sure the school were aware. The school has been amazing, their school mentor has spent time with both children to help them.

Last night, uncle Rog was taken to hospital for some treatment to help with some side effects of the cancer. Unfortunately, he wasn’t well enough for the treatment to work, and this morning we got the call to say he’d died.

We made the decision to tell the children after their swimming lessons, and we’ve been honest with them.

This morning has been full of tears, hugs and questions, and I’m sure there’s more to come.

Roger was an amazing man. He was an athlete all his life. He represented Great Britain at the 1972 Munich Olympics, and has passed on his experience as an athletics coach, in 2008, he coached the Team GB women’s 4 x 100 relay team to the final in Beijing, and has continued to coach professional athletes until a month ago, and was delighted when one his athletes (Annabelle Lewis) qualified for the World Athletics Championships a few weeks ago. And was part of the bronze medal winning 4×100 team. After the event she paid tribute to Uncle Roger, and Gabbie Logan, Denice Lewis & Michael Johnson continued the tributes following her interview.

He was a great dad, a loving husband, uncle and made the room light up with his singing (usually Andy Williams or Dean Martin), equally he could clear the room by finding a Western or war film to watch – preferably in black & white, or a home video of the holidays which always included a tour of the hotel bathroom, and heaven help you if you changed channels when the athletics were on!

We’ll miss him terribly, but we’ll remember him with smiles & laughter.

Goodbye Roger Walters, Running Wizard.

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