Claire Rayner- Inspirational Woman

I have just heard of the death of Clare Rayner. What an inspirational life she led.

I think Clare Rayner was one of the unsung heroes of feminism. She got stuck with the title of agony aunt but she was so much more than that. She was a talented, well educated, wise woman who talked about her early life with painful honesty. She started life as a nurse, stopped that when her children were born, and carved out a career for herself as a journalist and writer.

She championed the cause of the patient, speaking out on the topic of MRSA and the mundane topic of proper cleaning and hygiene in hospitals.

Honours were heaped on her; she was an O.B.E and a doctor of Oxford Brooks University to name just two. And talk about being a multi tasker! She wrote novels, factual books and was a journalist.  And she was President of the Patient’s Association and took part in a national review of Nursing.

She was fearless in what she would openly discuss and well ahead of her time. She spoke out about safe sex in the 80s, she talked about cancer in a way that was accessible to all, (she herself had a double mastectomy), and she was passionate about the National Health Service. Her views and opinions were regularly sought by politicians and officials. And ill health appears not to have dimmed her spirit, as you will know if you heard her speaking out about the Pope’s visit to Britain a few weeks before her death.

I am surprised by the depth of my reaction to her death. She was an astonishing woman who has saved untold numbers of lives because of her work in the health field, and her caring and compassionate advice. You could, as a friend of mine said, listen to Claire without squirming. Considering the topics she tackled that’s no mean feat!

Rest in peace, Claire. Knowing she was dying she told her family what she wanted her last recorded words to be, and I will end with those:

Tell David Cameron that if he screws up my beloved NHS I’ll come back and bloody haunt him!’

And she probably would!


Posted on October 12th, 2010 by

14 Responses to “Claire Rayner- Inspirational Woman”

  1. Sam P says:

    She was a great advocate of important truths and not spoilt by public acclaim

  2. Oh Jane, what a fitting tribute – thank you so much for expressing in writing what was in my heart.

    She affected so many people with her common-sense and openhearted ways; I used to love watching her when she was on Richard & Judy’s This Morning show; she was so touched by many of the stories she heard and her honest, forthright approach was such a breath of fresh air in a world where people no longer take personal responsibility.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us, Jane.

    Thank you and RIP Claire Rayner. You will be very much missed.

  3. Thanks for such a fab tribute, Jane.

    I think her final words sum up her whole approach to life phenomenally well. Such fighting spirit!

  4. Kirsten Bridge says:

    Mother, feminist, campaigner, journalist and OBE, a wonderful woman and an advocate for the common-sense approach in so many areas.

    A life well lived !

    RIP Claire Rayner

  5. Karen Redman says:

    Such a good tribute, Jane. She was such a down-to-earth, sensible and accomplished woman. Am sure she’ll be greatly missed by all sorts of people for so many different reasons.

  6. Claire Rayner was a wonderful woman. Down-to-earth, unassuming, yet able to get her many messages across with vigor and conviction.

    She was passionate about her work, and she retained a cutting sense of humor throughout.

    She will, indeed, be missed. Your tribute to her was exactly right.

    • Jane says:

      Thanks Debbie. Part of me felt I wanted to respect the family privacy but I read that Jay was was really warmed by the tributes. She was amazing. What a legacy to leave.

  7. Kate Barnes says:

    I too was amazed at how upset I was to hear of this sad loss of a truly amazing woman. She just seemed a constant and can’t imagine that she is not here any more. I watched her son on the ‘One Show’ last week and he commented that people lose loved ones all the time and they were overwhelmed with the amount of support and love they had received as a result of her loss. She was a truly extrodinary woman, such a loss.

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