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Dame Esther Rantzen: ‘My dog’s death was better than my husband’s’-Kitty Chrisp-Entertainment – Metro

She is backing a campaign for UK assisted dying laws to change.

Dame Esther Rantzen: ‘My dog’s death was better than my husband’s’-Kitty Chrisp-Entertainment – Metro

Dame Esther Rantzen has opened up about assisted dying in a new interview (Picture: David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images)

Dame Esther Rantzen has said her dog had a better death than her family members did, as she campaigns for assisted dying UK laws to change.

The TV presenter, 83, announced in May 2023 that she had stage 4 lung cancer and revealed in December she had joined the assisted dying clinic, Dignitas, in Switzerland.

However, Dame Esther has explained that if she were to choose this UK law could make her family vulnerable to prosecution – up to 14 years in prison – if they were to accompany her to the clinic.

A petition for a debate on assisted dying backed by the BBC star has gained 200,000 signatures, and will take place in Westminster today.

Ahead of the debate, there is to be a demonstration in central London – though Dame Esther will not be attending because of her health.

The Childline founder, who says she is living ‘scan to scan’, has told Good Morning Britain’s Susanna Reid that her dog had a ‘better’ death than her beloved family members.

Dame Esther announced in May 2023 that she had stage 4 lung cancer (Picture: Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images)

She said her dog’s death was ‘better’ than her husband Desmond Wilcox’s (Picture: David Levenson/Getty Images)

‘We can offer our beloved pets a pain-free death but we can’t offer it to our beloved family,’ Dame Esther said in the off-camera interview.

‘I had three deaths that happened very soon after each other: Desmond [Wilcox, her late husband], my mother and our dog. There was no doubt our dog had the best death.’

Speaking about joining the Swiss clinic, Dame Esther explained: ‘If I knew it was going to be difficult for my family to witness I would want to ask for help.’

She continued: ‘If I go to Switzerland my family can’t come with me for fear of being interrogated by police.’

Dame Esther also chatted about what she’s learnt throughout the years, as she advised viewers: ‘Circumstances change. Be prepared to have the next adventure.’

The journalist’s daughter Rebecca Wilcox – who has taken over her mother’s Childline duties – also appeared on the show and said she’s ‘got used to’ talking about her mother’s death since the diagnosis.

Dame Esther’s daughter Rebecca has taken over her work at Childline (Picture: Steve Parsons – WPA Pool/Getty Images)

‘We’ve always been a revoltingly open family about everything from flatulence to death,’ she quipped.

In February, Dame Esther opened up about her ideal final moments in an interview with LBC Radio.

‘I’d like to fly off to Zurich with my nearest and dearest. Have a fantastic dinner the night before,’ she began.

‘I’d love caviar, if possible, and the fact that it doesn’t always agree with me doesn’t matter, does it? 

‘I could even have champagne, which I’m deeply allergic to. Then the next day, go to this rather unappealing place where they do it.

‘Listen to a favourite piece of music, say goodbye to everybody. Tell them to cheer up.’

She added: ‘I’m meeting my late husband, my departed dog, and my mother at the pearly gates.’

Good Morning Britain airs weekdays from 6.30am on ITV1 and ITVX.

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