Ray Illingworth’s adult daughter Diane wants her dad to stay strong, but it is not easy for Diane. The legendary England and Yorkshire cricketer, who was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer a year ago, is talking about how he intends to end his remarkable life — or what he calls ‘this dying job’.

“If I were well enough, and it was in the summer,” he said, nodding toward the Farsley village grounds near Leeds, West Yorkshire, where he played cricket since he was just a small boy.

“I’d then come back here to go to bed. It would be a shame to travel somewhere else. [such as an assisted dying clinic in Switzerland]It will be done. It would be my only choice, however we don’t need to. I would like to go to bed in comfort in my Yorkshire home.

Ex-England captain Ray Illingworth (pictured) has made a typically brave stand in the assisted dying debate after watching his wife's cruel death from cancer - and being hit by the disease himself

After witnessing his wife’s death from the cancer, Ray Illingworth, ex-captain of England (pictured), has taken a brave stand on the assisted dying issue. He was also hit hard by the disease.

The home, located just two blocks from Shirley’s high school at 14 years old, was filled with joy and happiness for 30+ years. However, it became a dark place for Ray as his beloved wife of 63 year was tragically ill in the final weeks of her illness. In March, her death was a result of breast cancer that she had not been diagnosed with during the worst part of the pandemic.

Diane, 56, tells it in a typically subdued manner that it was not pleasant for her to watch. The single-minded, “we’ll bloody do ’em” mentality of her father led to the victory for England in Ashes in Australia over fifty years ago. He is determined to not put his family through that same suffering again.

He said, “I feel there is no reason to live if you don’t have a life, but this decision has made it clear.” “Shirley was in terrible pain for the last few months and had to go from hospital after hospital.

“At the end, she was in her back bedroom. These moments will never be forgotten. They will never be forgotten. We were having help — nurses coming in twice a day, things like that. She was on morphine — double doses — and couldn’t talk.

'The day she died, I took her hand and was talking to her softly for a bit, saying, 'Don't go fighting and fighting if you're in pain. You've had a tough time. Just go to sleep and relax. Let yourself go'. Pictured: Ray and his wife Shirley at Christmas last year

‘The day she passed away, I reached out to hold her hand. This has been an awful time. Relax and go to bed. “Let yourself go.” Pictured are Ray and Shirley last Christmas.

‘The day she passed away, I reached out to hold her hand. This has been an awful time. Go to sleep, relax. Allow yourself to be. That is what I recall saying. We were all there, but she couldn’t hear us. “If you are able to hear us, please blink twice,” I said. She was shocked, but she remembered. . .’

Ray moves his jaw back and forth, but Ray is red-rimmed. “She just blink twice. This is what I will always remember. It’s hard to know how she attempted to let go of herself or how fiercely she battled it. Di, what do you think? Di, what do you think?’ He looks at his daughter who is now unable to control her emotions.

You don’t allow dogs to go through that. She says, “Take them to the veterinarian and let them go.” “I’m not sure how much she understood, but it’s something I’ve heard before.” [at the end]They see the world beyond.

“Her arm was out, and she was doing this,” she said. . .’ Diane extends her arms heavenward. “She can definitely see it.” As she was reaching out for something, we said to her that you could relax. It’s possible to go. It’s okay to say goodbye.

“We had ordered tea with fish and chips. This was her favorite. That was her favorite.

The tears turn into laughter. Ray is also a joe. Ray and his large loving family of four children and five grandchildren, have managed to cope with the last year using humor. Ray was also diagnosed with cancer two months earlier than his wife. The family celebrated Christmas after 30 days of intense radiotherapy. Ray can be seen in this photograph with his wife beside him in a paper crown and holding a glass red wine. Ray loved this pudding, even though doctors had advised him to eat a restricted diet.

Pictured: Ray and Shirley Illingworth on their wedding day in Farsley Chruch, near Leeds, West Yorkshire, in 1958

Photo: Ray Illingworth and Shirley Illingworth, on Ray’s wedding day at Farsley Chruch (near Leeds, West Yorkshire) in 1958

He told his family that ‘no bloody doctor will make me liquidise the trifle’.

The fact that the tumor, measuring 8cm, was found at all is a miracle.

“We had not been able see doctors for years.” [because of Covid]Ray says, “Yes.” ‘But I’d gone to see the specialist for a follow-up after my knee replacement and he just said, ‘You’re looking very pale — I think we should do a blood test.’ He was immediately informed by a blood test.

“He called up my doctor and asked for further tests. ‘

According to him, tests showed that the growth had occurred at the bottom part of his stomach. Shirley told him, “It is not good news.” It’s cancer.

She couldn’t believe her eyes. It was something she didn’t expect that I would have. She was certain that I was healthy. My job was to cut the hedges, and I also did the gardening. I wasn’t one to sit down and watch the television. It was something I would prefer to do outside, so I surprised her a bit when I found out that I wasn’t immortal.

Ray gained two stones during radiotherapy. The tumour shrank to just 2 cm in 30 days. Diane Metcalfe lives right next to her father, a former Yorkshire cricketer Ashley Metcalfe. She prepared liquidised meals for her parents and took care of them throughout the process.

Ray isn’t complaining, but it’s clear that Ray was miserable. Shirley became more frail after suffering a stroke five year prior.

Diane states that because they couldn’t see anyone, she kept changing her tablets. She struggled to get out of bed, so it was difficult for me to lift her. That was at the end January. I couldn’t lift her. The next morning, they took her to the hospital.

“I can recall that I was driving when the results were given to me. Dr. X said that we had your mother’s results. It’s confirmed that she has cancer. Were you aware? “I didn’t know.” I replied, “No”. It was in her spine, back, and down all her legs. The reason she was referring to her leg was that she had it in her spine, back and on the part where she suffered the stroke. . .

“They suggested that it had to have begun in her breasts. . . and towards the end — I don’t know how much pain she must have had . . .’

Ray looks at his daughter. He is full of love and affection for his daughter. He assures her, “The best time was when they came around,” She was different when she ran around with them. She laughed with them no matter what and that was a nice thing to do. Although she didn’t laugh much, when they were around, . .’

Diane’s children, Oliver (9 years old), Luna (five-year-old), and Seb (2 year) are her grandchildren. Ray describes Oliver as a young, talented cricketer. He can grab a bat or ball and play it either left-handedly or right-handed. Shirley was able to watch her dying weeks of life through the nets they set up on the yard outside Shirley’s bedroom window. Diane says that she was sent home with a bed without sides from the hospital. She kept trying to get her legs out, so I was forced to sit at the bed’s side. She said that she couldn’t stand up. My response was, “You cannot get up mum.” My response was, “You cannot.” You can’t stand.’

“Seeing her suffer like that was not nice. She had to lose a lot. Although she never spoke about death or her funeral, then she looked at you and asked, “Are you going burn me?”‘, didn’t she?’ She looks at her father and again, the tears fall in laughter.

Ray laughs along with her. Ray laughs with her. He continues. “There was one morning that her legs were completely gone. Then she sank on the toilet, and was gone.

“We have the paramedics right here. Diane was present. [Diane’s children]Amy and Zoe tried to help her, but couldn’t.

“Eventually I found a seat on the bidet at the end of the toilet. She took my hand, and we began talking. “I am squeezing your hands,” I said. It’s there. For two-three minutes I talked to her, perhaps more. Then, suddenly she said “Ah”, like this.

To demonstrate, he sits straight up. She smiled, and she didn’t come back. She should not have left that day. The end result was that there was nothing left of any human life. I believe that this is the right time to let go.

Ray had two radiotherapy treatments three weeks prior to his cancerous tumor was removed. In a matter of weeks, Ray will find out if the treatment was successful. Joe Root, a fellow Yorkshireman, is leading Australia’s England team in Australia. Joe Root hopes to replicate Ray’s Ashes win half a century earlier.

“That’s when you will become more concerned if the treatment has not gone. You’ll either have to undergo a lot of additional treatments, which I don’t want to, or get in trouble.

“But, when I am incapable of doing owt or I feel pain, then that will be the time I go. My life has been good. I have done everything that I set out to do, so I don’t need to put pressure on my family for another 12 months.

England's Ray Illingworth (left) hooks as Australia wicketkeeper Rod Marsh (right) looks on during the Fourt Test of the Ashes in 1971

Ray Illingworth of England is seen catching as Rod Marsh (right), Australia’s wicketkeeper, watches from the stands during the Fourt Test in the Ashes.

Zoe is his granddaughter and she’s preparing lunch in her kitchen. She comes to the living room. Grandad, you’re not going anywhere. Your goal is to live until 100.

Her mum looks at her, and she takes in a deep breathe. “You want everyone to live forever, don’t ya?” Diane agrees. “But, we must respect my father’s wishes. He has the right to make that decision. We have to accept his decision.

Ray is unlikely to ‘be put down’ in his home. A 14 year jail sentence could apply to anyone who helps someone take their own lives in the country under the 1961 Suicide Act. Is she willing to accompany the deceased person overseas to an assisted death clinic?

It isn’t an easy conversation. Diane looks up at her father with love and tears. She said, “If my dad wanted me to,”

Ray feels emotional now too. “It’s difficult for them,” he said. “But in the end, it is better for them as well as for me. It’s something I have made known to them all so that they know what I think. You should still be able do it nicely when you are ready.

“I believe if we had a public vote, the majority of people would support being able and to say that they’ve had enough. “I want to get there.” You shouldn’t feel the need to take your family with you.

They shouldn’t have to be there for people who are in extreme pain until their deaths. Shirley’s coffin was the first place she looked truly peaceful. It had been over a month since I last saw her in that way. To see her so calmly lying down was remarkable. Now he is in tears as he considers it. “You can’t see her the way she is. She is all of her years. Since the moment you first saw her in the school hall, when she would talk too loudly and was constantly sent home from class.

“You saw her at our wedding, while on holiday in Spain. She met me at the train station along with Vicky, when I hadn’t been seen since six-and-a half months. We were then taken together to the game. [on the last day of 1970/71 Ashes series]Australia wanted to win only 80 with just five wickets. It was then that I thought, “Well, my Lord. I’ve never asked you for help before. However, some help could be welcomed today.” He talks and the years slide away.

He said, “I am sure that my time is still not here yet.” “I will see, perhaps, for another twelve months. But when it comes, I’ll be able to tell. It will be my time. That is what I am certain of. After the final task of dying is complete, we will never know what comes next. It is possible that there may be some form of life after death. Ich hoffe, I am correct. The old girl might be available to me again.