This morning.

This morning Ben died peacefully in his sleep.

He spent his last days surrounded by his family, kindly cared for by the wonderful staff at Pilgrims Hospice in Canterbury. His sudden deterioration in health took us all by surprise, though gladly it meant that he did not suffer for long at the end. Despite being in hospital over Christmas, we celebrated together and Ben was able to open presents with us all and see Saskia playing with her new toys.

Ben was such a strong man – kind, honorable, caring, genuine…and very very courageous. We’ll miss him deeply.

Good bye Ben. We loved you so much.

Saskia and her Daddy

Saskia and her Daddy

Post script – Over the last few weeks Ben has started two draft posts that he never had chance to complete and publish. As soon as I can, I’ll publish these along with some more about the last couple of weeks and some Christmas photos.

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69 Comments

Filed under Battle with Melanoma

69 responses to “This morning.

  1. Tanya

    You will be greatly missed – I’d never met such a genuine kind person. x

  2. Miss you loads Ben! Have so many wonderful memories of us getting up to no good which I will cherish! We had some really great and fun times together and I am so happy to have had you as a great friend! You were incredibly brave this past year and you have been an inspiration to us all. Thank you!!

    Love to Sally & Saskia xxxxxxx

    Paul & Sue xxx

  3. So, so, so sorry to hear this. Thinking of you all Emily J xxx

  4. Hi Sally. Both you and Ben are the nicest people we’ve ever had the privilege to know. You are all in our thoughts and we send you all our love and hugs. Tracey, Rich, Charlotte, Holly and Lilly xxx

  5. Simon Gallear

    I’m so sorry to hear this Sally and our love to you, Saskia and all your family at this time. I didn’t know Ben well, but over the last year he was always in the back of my mind, largely due to this blog. It is a testament to his courage and determination. I loved what I read – I was always amazed to read such a positivity streaming from someone in such dark days; that is an inspiration to us all.
    Thank you Ben, and thank you Sally for sharing this journey with us.
    Much love,
    Simon & Caroline Gallear

  6. colin

    i am so sorry too hear this Sally. We send our love and wishes to you. Ben was such a special caring person. I thank Ben for sharing this blog with all of us and being such an amazing man.

    Lots of Love always,
    colin, june xxxxx

  7. Alice Hussell

    Good bye Ben, we will all miss you very much.Your courage and strength has been an inspiration. Thank you! Rest peacefully Ben and you will remain in our hearts.
    Sending my love to Sally and Saskia x x x

  8. Andy and Annie Sergeant

    He was the best friend anyone could have hoped for. Love to you and Saskia. If there’s anything you need we are always here. Lots of love always Andy and Annie x

  9. Ron and Nancy Wilson

    Dear Sally,
    We heard from Gwyneth this morning.
    You, Ben, Saskia and your families have been in our thoughts all day.
    Wish we lived closer. We have such great admiration for you, Ben and Saskia.
    We will be in touch.
    With much love,
    Ron and Nancy

  10. Gemma, Matt & Foster Jones

    Dear Sally and Saskia,
    We are so so sorry and send you all of our love. I echoe the comments made previously; while we didn’t know Ben well, his strength and determination always shone through in his blog posts. You have all been so brave.
    Much love and hugs, Gemma, Matt & Foster

  11. Nicola and Niki Cucka

    We are so sorry to hear the sad news and our deepest sympathy goes out to the rest of his family. Ben was an amazing person with such a positive outlook on life despite his condition. His blogs were so inspirational he was a fantastic writer and we’re glad he made it through Christmas and New Year and spend time with his family, he will truly be missed. Love Nicola and Niki xxx

  12. Maria Mallon

    I Have followed Ben’s incredible blog from the beginning but have only just got a lap top to leave a comment, Thank you Ben for being a wonderful nephew, so brave one amazing guy will miss you so much, love you always,
    Much love to you dear Sally and Saskia too, xxxxxx

  13. Lizzie

    Ben’s courage, strength and determination was an inspiration to us all.

    Sally, your strength continues to inspire. We are here for you and Sas if you need us. Love to all of Ben’s family.

    Love Lizzie, Liam, Eli and Ivan xxxx

  14. Karen Mackinnon

    Having known Ben since his diagnosis I can honestly say that in 35 of oncology nursing I have never met anyone who lived with his disease with such dignity and humour.He was always concerned for everyone else,and was an inspiration to all who are living with a diagnosis of cancer.I feel honoured to have met him and cared for him and his family.I only wish we could have done more.But i have wonderful memories,including those of your lovely wedding Sally which I will always cherish.My heart goes out to you as a family.Big hugs to you all,keep in touch Karen and family xx

  15. So so sorry, Sally, to hear that Ben has gone. As you say, such a brave man. I looked forward to his posts. They were funny, positive and full of love for you and Saskia. Big hugs to you and know that we’re thinking of you. We’ll be back in February so would love to catch up with you then. Kisses Ying & Mick

  16. Katherine Edge

    The best brother you could ever ask for, always there to help and talk to. So proud of his strengh and determination. Will miss him greatly.

  17. Paul Bower

    Ben’s bravery and courage have been second to none and I am very proud that he was my friend.
    I will miss him dearly – but will cherish fond memories of him also – he is and will always be an inspiration to me.
    I also have the highest admiration for the strength & positivity you have shown throughout Sally and express to you and his family my deepest condolences for your loss.
    Love Paul

  18. Sally Vowles

    Wow… what a guy and what a family. I have been so lucky to have know you all. Ben’s strength and determination was outstanding, as was his love for his family. His posts were so humourous during such a difficult time.
    Ben you will live on in your strength… rest peacefully now!!!!
    Love you all xxx

  19. Dear Sally and Saskia
    All your words about Ben’s strengths I would say about you too so Saskia is a perfect blend of them too!
    I can only echo what everyone else has written but you are in my thoughts and prayers. Be gentle on yourself and give Saskia plenty of cuddles from all of us.
    Love and blessings
    Maureen x

  20. Jon Hopkins

    Good bye Ben – my old next door neighbour and school friend – you’ll be sorely missed. You always saw the bright side of things and remained so positive in your blog posts. Sally and Saskia, thinking and praying for you at this difficult time.
    Love Jon, Lucy and Bethany

  21. Kate Fielding

    Sally – I can’t tell you how desperately sorry I was to read your post this morning. We didn’t know Ben well, but he left a big impression. I am sure the next few weeks will be incredibly tough for you. If there’s anything at all we can do please just say. We will be thinking of you. Kate x

  22. Goodbye Ben – my old next door neighbour and school friend – you’ll be sorely missed. You always looked on the bright side of things and this was shown through the blog. and Saskia, thinking and praying for you at this difficult time.
    Lots of love, Jon, Lucy and Bethany.

  23. Claire & Phil

    Ben, our wonderful, brave nephew. We will miss you so much but have such lovely memories which we will cherish and keep with us forever. Sally and Saskia, we’re here for you always. ‘To live in the hearts of those you love is not to die’ Love you Ben xxxxxx

  24. Lucy Gale

    So so sorry to hear this Sally. What an incredibly strong person he was. I have some great memories from Bournemouth and when you two visited Bora and me in Swindon. My thoughts are with you Sally and Saskia.
    Love from Lucy xx

  25. Nicola Bannister

    To Ben, I would just like to say, although I’ve not known you for very long, it has been a real pleasure and I’d like to thank you for always making me feel so welcome, part of the family, and never judging me! You had a wicked sense of humour and always made me laugh, this was mostly at the expense of others, but funny all the same and always done with good heart and humour. Love to you, Sally and Saskia. Nic xxx

  26. Dan and Kate

    Ben was an amazing friend to both of us. We’ll always treasure the great times and memories we had growing up with him and be forever grateful to have known such an inspirational man. Lots of love Dan and Kate

  27. Anthony smith

    The best big cousin i could of ever wished for, growing up making dens and tearing around on bikes, i will always have great memories that will stay with me forever! A great inspiration and super strength, you will be greatly missed, rest in peace mate
    Anthony & Christy xxxxxxxxx

  28. Victoria Jack

    My thoughts are with you Sal. xxxxxxxxxxx

  29. So incredibly brave and inspirational, I never missed a blog. Rest in peace big cousin xxxxxx

  30. lindsay macdonald

    I am very sad to hear that Ben has passed away. He has been an inspiration to me during the last few months and I’ve very much looked forward to reading his updates. I have you and your family in my thoughts and prayers. May God bless you and your family and comfort you at this time x

  31. June and John Edge

    So sorry to hear of the very sad news of the passing away of Ben. Please accept our very sincere condolences to you and Saskia on your and our very sad loss
    Love from June and John

  32. Miguel Mera

    So deeply sorry to hear this news. Thinking of you all. Love. Migs, Claire, Rosa and Alec.

  33. Ben's Dad

    It is said that the worst thing for a parent is to lose a child, an experience that I now more fully understand. The loss of Ben will leave a large hole in my, and others, lives. He was a brick in my wall and although we had differences, as parents and children do at times, we were there for each other when needed. He could be thoughtful, dogmatic, caring , patient, very particular, but above all he was a son I loved and cared for. With his passing, memories of his younger days come flooding back to me and happy occasions come to mind; these are the ones to remember, when we had holidays together, he made a tree house, got his first bike and learnt to ride, got his first car and learnt to drive, met Sally, she has been the best he could ever have as a stalwart to stand by his side and to present him with a lovely baby girl that brought so much into Ben’s life.
    I will miss Ben so much, he brought so much into my world that will stay with me forever. Thank you Ben.

  34. Emma Thick

    I am so sorry for your loss

  35. Liam, Nic and Ella

    Such sad news. Ben you will be greatly missed. Our thoughts are with Sally, Saskia and Ben’s family xxx

  36. Pauline Gallear

    We feel very honoured to have known Ben, albeit for a short time. He was,and will continue to be, such an inspiration to us with his enormous courage, dignity and humour. Our love and thoughts are with you all at this sad time.
    Pauline and Barry

  37. Ange and John

    Sal, Ben put up such a brave fight with your constant love, support and good humour. His love will stay with you and will always be a part of Saskia. Ange and John x x

  38. Ben, we will miss your humour, courage and kindness but most of all we will miss your company. You were brave and determined and we will always remember you.
    Sally, your strength and courage will guide you through this and your love for Ben will never fade. We are here if you need anything at all. Xxxx

  39. Janine

    Beautiful words and photo to remember a truly brave and kind man. Ben will clearly be missed by so many. Let you family and friends take care of you and Saskia now, you never faltered caring for Ben. We are all thinking of you and Saskia and Ben’s family and send our love. I’m sure you will all continue showing the strength, courage and dignity that we have seen in the last year. May you find some peace soon. Lots of love from Janine, Dan and Matilda xxx

  40. We are devastated to hear of Ben’s passing, we offer our sincere condolences. Ben was a strong, positive, confident and caring person who we will all greatly miss. His blogs, insight and experiences educating others on cancer were inspirational. We hope Ben’s work educating and inspiring others in cancer research and its understanding will continue.

    Our thoughts are with Sally, Saskia and all the family.

    Matthew & Shelley Edge

  41. caroline Abels

    Dear Sally, family and friends of Ben,
    Such sad news. Very sorry and mostfull shocked to hear. My sincere condolences to all of you.

    Caroline Abels

  42. Jacqui

    We lose touch with people all the time; our lives are littered with promises to ‘keep in touch’. There are some people we never lose touch with and Ben is one of those, they stay in our hearts forever. I have been very privileged to have had the opportunity to meet someone who is so loving, kind, caring, strong and still humorous despite what life was throwing at him. A wonderful son, brother, husband, father and friend. In my heart always Ben, always. Missed but never forgotten.

  43. Olivia Holcombe

    Dear Sally and Saskia,

    We’re all so hugely sorry to read this. It’s vastly unfair that things didn’t turn out differently. Echoing comments above, Sally, you and Ben have been immensely inspirational – others would certainly crumble facing less – but you’ve stayed determined, steadfast and unbelievably stoical.

    Sending truckfuls of love (and helping hands, whenever you need them), to you and your beautiful sparky Sas. Rest up, and let others carry you for a while. With also deep condolences to Ben’s parents and family.

    Liv, Greg and Bertie XXX

  44. Sam

    Dear Sally

    I met Ben just once, but feel I got a sense of what a special person he was and will continue to be through his inspirational words posted here. Much love to you,Sakia and all the family.

    Sam x

  45. Jacqui

    I know Ben will always be greatly missed by all who knew him, myself included.

    I am grateful to have such happy memories from our time at Uni together. He was such a kind, genuine and funny soul, and we had a great many laughs together.

    Reading this blog from the start, it’s been difficult reading, but overwhelmingly inspirational to see Ben’s ongoing courage, strength and his humour shining through in spite of everything he and his family were going through.

    I’ll never forget you, Ben, and my thoughts are with you, Sally, and your beautiful daughter.

    Xxx

  46. kelly Navarro

    Our thoughts are with you and your family Sally,
    Rest in Peace Dear Ben,
    from all the hospice team at Canterbury xx

  47. Kamila

    Sally, I’m so sorry to hear about your loss. There are no words for this…

    Lots of love for you and Saskia xxx

  48. Ralph Meijer

    What a terrible news! Good bye, Ben! I will miss you! My sincere condolences to Sally, Saskia and all the family!

    Ralph Meijer

  49. David and Geraldine

    Sal,
    So sad and we are thinking of you and saskia at this time. Ben was such a fantastic man and friend, and he loved you guys so much. He will be sorely missed by everyone who knew him.
    Love to all,
    D,G,L&J

  50. Pauline

    Dear Sally, I know we haven’t seen each other for years, but my heart goes out to you and Saskia at the very sad loss of Ben. Although I had not met him, I felt I got to know him as a caring, humerous and gentle man through reading his blog. Keep strong and our love goes to you both. Love Pauline (cousin, Auntie Betty’s daughter) and Mike. Xxxxxx

  51. Jim M

    My dear Sally,

    Bless you and your beautiful husband. I’m so sorry to hear this news, but was moved by how dignified and warm your message above is. You’ve always been a remarkable, steadfast, resilient, strong, beautiful person and I was so reminded of that reading this. Though I hardly ever see you, you’ve always been a special person that I’m so fond of, and always will be. Keep shining and being brilliant and special and I hope to see you soon.

    Lots of love,

    Jim xxxx

  52. Kirsty Henderson

    Sally I’m so sorry to hear this. My thoughts are with you xxx

  53. Julie hands

    Dear Sally,
    Although I never met Ben, he came across as a funny kind hearted chap. You and Saskia are in my thoughts and prayers, and may God bless you and help you at this incredibly sad time. Lots of love, Julie Hands.xxxxxxx

  54. Lynsey

    Words cannot truly express how sorry I am to hear about your loss Sally. My heart goes out to you, Saskia and Ben’s family at this very difficult time xxx

    Ben was an incredible man, he remained courageous, positive and humorous at a time when most would have given up or fallen apart. He has been a real inspiration to us all and has touched the hearts of so many.

    You are an amazing woman Sally. You have managed to stay so strong, brave, positive and supportive in helping Ben through a difficult journey, as well as dealing with your own emotions. You have been an incredible tower of strength and support to Ben, as well as being a wonderful mum to Saskia.

    Rest peacefully Ben.

    Lynsey xxxx

  55. Claire & Phil

    I love you my darling grandson Benjamin. Dear Lord, please take great care of this wonderful young man. All my fondest love from Nanny xxxxx

  56. I think I only got to meet Ben on one occasion when my family came to Dorset for a holiday – I wish I had gotten to know him a little more – he seemed to touch so many lives. My love and thoughts go out to Ben’s family. Simon (Anne and Ivan’s son) x

  57. Manuela Cecconi

    No words, just lots of love to his friends, to his family and above all to Sally and Saskia a big hug!
    To Ben : GoodBye Ben, I met you just once … but I still remeber your smile and how you were able to light Sally’s eyes …
    Mannyxxx

  58. Dave

    Ben – thank you for being you and enriching so many lives.

    You will always be with us.

  59. Penny

    I am a friend of Dave’s and he introduced me to Ben’s blog. I am really sorry to hear that Ben has died and will always remember his brilliant talent for writing. Take care and God Bless,
    Penny x

  60. We are very sad and upset to hear of the very sad loss of Ben. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all.
    with our love’
    Anne and Ivan x

  61. Ian Kilpatrick

    So sorry to hear of Ben’s passing – One of life’s good guys. It was a pleasure to work with him at Lenham – God bless mate

    Ian Kilpatrick

  62. Anthony smith

    Dear kind, strong ben, sleep at peace,
    with love
    Auntie Anne
    xxxxx

  63. Anthony smith

    My wonderful cousin i will miss you always, i will always have such wonderful memories of when we were young, and of you as a strong and inspirational man. now you are at peace,
    lots of love
    Theresa
    xxxxx

  64. Martyn Edge and Kayleigh Bush

    Ben was a man of such great character and will be sorely missed. It is devastating that he passed away at such a young age, with so much more to offer in life. His blogs have been insightful and inspirational, and we thank you for keeping us informed.

    Words cannot express our sympathies, and our condolences go to Sally, Saskia and all the family.

    With love,
    Martyn Edge and Kayleigh Bush.

  65. Katrina

    I’m so sorry to hear this sad news. Ben seemed a lovely person who I would loved to have met.
    My thoughts and prayers are with his family.
    Love,
    Katrina (Anne and Iven’s daughter)

  66. Anthony smith

    Dear kind, strong Ben,
    Sleep in peace.
    With love, Auntie Anne xxxxx

  67. Sorry to hear of your great loss. My thoughts are with you and all the family.
    Although I have never met Ben I felt I had got to know him through his blogs.
    Sally, I pray for you to be strong and ask God for strength to get you through this troublesome time. May God Bless you and Saskia. With love, Auntie Joyce Ridgway.xxxx

  68. Wilson Irvine

    Wow , incredible, what a guy? Never met you, but you should all be so proud of Ben and your good self. Wilson Irvine from Aberdeen.

  69. Sally

    Thanks for your lovely comment Wilson. Yes I am proud of us! 🙂 x

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