A man in a high-visibility vest and ear defenders smiles on a clay pigeon shoot

Lianne & Tony

Lianne shares the story of her dad, Tony, to help raise awareness of pancreatic cancer. Tony was just 60 when he passed away from pancreatic cancer that had spread to the liver, just under 5 weeks after his diagnosis.


My Dad was in the army his whole life, he’d retired from the army at 53 but stayed active running a clay shooting range. He was enjoying spending time with his children and grandchildren and was raising money for all kinds of charities through his love for clay pigeon shooting. He had started keeping records of what was raised a few years earlier, his aim was to to get that figure to £100k. Unfortunately, aged just 60, he got diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. He managed to get the figure raised up to £96k.

He had chest pains

In May 2021, from being healthy and active (other than back pain), my dad suddenly started having chest pains and was taken by ambulance to our local hospital. At first the concern was that he was having a heart attack, then they said he had gall stones and told him to visit his GP.

He became yellow with jaundice and a few nights later he was rushed to hospital again where they agreed to scan him so they could operate, this is when he was told he had pancreatic cancer. Over the next few days we found out that it was stage 4 and had spread to his liver. I remember vividly the conversation I had with him, where he said he would fight it but he had been told he wouldn’t ever beat it.

He became too ill for chemotherapy

My dad saw the specialist and agreed to start chemotherapy, however this was delayed through illness and various hospital stays. My dad hated being in hospital, he was normally a very active, proud man. I remember the day he went to see the specialist at a different hospital. My brother drove him so we arranged to surprise him in the car park with his grandkids. His face lit up when he saw them.

In June he had to go in to have a stent fitted, this was a procedure that he hated but it helped his jaundice and made him feel better for a little while. Unfortunately, his liver function was still not good enough for him to begin the chemotherapy, and his next appointment would be on the 1st July.

We spent a lovely Father’s Day together, which he knew would be his last, with a family barbecue. But after this, every day he just got more poorly. Unfortunately, he never made his next appointment and he passed away on the 1st July, surrounded by his family, 4 weeks and 6 days after his diagnosis.

I wish we had more time with him

He had his awesome sense of humour right till the end, telling jokes, pulling faces and always trying to make others laugh, to the point where he had my brother in stitches while waiting to see the cancer specialist with him! My dad was incredibly strong throughout but to say his rapid decline was brutal would be a huge understatement. I think when a loved one is diagnosed with cancer you expect to have time to make lovely memories but that was stolen from us.

His passing has been incredibly difficult to deal with as a family and two years later it still feels as raw as it did then. My brother carried on with our dad’s goal of raising £100k for charity and achieved this just a few months after his death and I know he’d have been so proud.

I’d never heard of pancreatic cancer before my dad was diagnosed and think it’s massively important to share our story so hopefully it will give another family the precious time that we never got.


August 2023