‘She is a living legend’: Dame Esther Rantzen fans share their condolences after broadcaster reveals she has been diagnosed with lung cancer
Fans of Dame Esther Rantzen have offered their condolences after the broadcaster revealed she has been diagnosed with lung cancer.
The 82-year-old founder of charities Childline and The Silver Line, confirmed the news on Sunday.
Fans took to Twitter to share an outpouring of sorrow and praise for Dame Esther, calling her a ‘living legend’ and admiring her ‘positive attitude’.
Cancer battle: Fans of Dame Esther Rantzen have offered their condolences after the broadcaster revealed she has been diagnosed with lung cancer
One said: ‘Dame Esther Rantzen is more than a living legend. She is such an amazing force for good.
‘My thoughts & prayers are with her & I wish her all the best for a speedy recovery. We need Fabulous people like her.’
Another echoed: ‘Wishing Esther Rantzen every success with her cancer treatment. She is a living legend and has helped so many in her long and varied career. All the best, you’re in my prayers x’.
A third agreed, writing: ‘Very sad news about Esther. Her statement is typically thoughtful & humorous. Humorous despite challenging times she is facing.
Sad: The 82-year-old founder of charities Childline and The Silver Line, confirmed the news on Sunday
‘I wish her & her family well. And thank her for her activism shining a light on the vulnerable & otherwise unheard, young & old’.
While a fourth added: ‘Very sad but an admirably positive attitude from Esther Rantzen’.
And a fifth wrote: ‘Very sad to hear the news about Dame Esther Rantzen, the founder of @TheSilverLineUK. Wishing her all the best as she receives treatment.’
High praise: Fans took to Twitter to share an outpouring of sorrow and praise for Dame Esther, calling her a ‘living legend’ and admiring her ‘positive attitude’
Dame Esther said in a statement to the PA news agency: ‘In the last few weeks I have discovered that I am suffering from lung cancer which has now spread.’
‘At the moment I am undergoing various tests, to assess the best treatment.
She added that after having to don disguises during her trips to hospital for tests she has decided to go public.
‘I have decided not to keep this secret any more because I find it difficult to skulk around various hospitals wearing an unconvincing disguise, and because I would rather you heard the facts from me,’ she explained.
Esther continued by thanking her family, friends and colleagues ‘who have made my life so joyful.’
Thankful: Esther continued by thanking her family, friends and colleagues ‘who have made my life so joyful,’ including her three children Miriam, Rebecca and Joshua ‘who have been the most wonderful support’ (pictured with daughter Rebecca Wilcox in 2017)
‘At the age of 82, this diagnosis has prompted me to look back over the years, and I want to express my profound thanks to everyone who has made my life so joyful, filled with fun, and with inspiration.
‘First and foremost my family. My three children Miriam, Rebecca and Joshua have been the most wonderful support, company, and source of love and laughter and I am deeply grateful to them.
‘My friends have been amazing and have created memories which sustain me and give me strength.
‘My colleagues with whom I have worked, and continue to work with in broadcasting, journalism, the voluntary sector, and in many other organisations have been a constant pleasure, and have amazed me with their tolerance of my wild ideas and awful jokes.
TV career: Dame Esther, who was a trailblazer for female broadcasters, became a household name during her BBC career (pictured on That’s Life! which she fronted from 1973 to 1994)
‘I have been continuously inspired by the courageous children, older people and viewers who have trusted me with their life stories. I have always tried to live up to that trust.
‘As I am sure you will understand, while I am awaiting the results of the tests, I am unable to answer questions. Thanks to the extraordinary skills of the medical profession there are wonderful new treatments, so I am remaining optimistic.’
Dame Esther, who was a trailblazer for female broadcasters, became a household name during her career at the BBC.
She is best-known for presenting That’s Life! – a programme featuring a mix of investigations, topical issues and entertainment – from 1973 to 1994.
More recently she has fronted the 2018 Channel 5 consumer advice show Esther Rantzen’s House Trap, and made a 2021 film for the channel entitled Living With Grief.
Loss: Dame Esther’s documentary maker husband Desmond Wilcox died in 2000, something she has admitted struggling to come to terms with (pictured together renewing their vows in 1999)
In addition to her success as a journalist and broadcaster, Dame Esther is also the founder of children’s charity Childline, which she established in 1986.
NSPCC’s CEO Sir Peter Wanless said in response to the news on Sunday: ‘I speak on behalf of Childline’s volunteers, staff and supporters in sending love and best wishes to Dame Esther Rantzen and her family.
‘Esther’s tireless commitment to Childline and the wider NSPCC over the years is truly inspiring and the positive impact that’s she had on children’s live is unimaginable.’
‘No matter what, she has always been here for children and young people and likewise, we are here to support her during this challenging time.’
Children: Dame Esther is mother to Emily, Josua and Rebecca and has five grandchildren Benji, nine, Xander and Teddy seven, and Florence and Romilly, four (pictured with her husband and children in 1986)
In 2012, Dame Esther helped create The Silver Line, a confidential helpline designed to combat loneliness for older people’s.
During the global pandemic, the star warned that lockdown restrictions had created a daily battle against isolation and loneliness for pensioners, campaigning on behalf of the vulnerable.
She regularly wrote about her own experience of being unable to see her five grandchildren Benji, nine, Xander and Teddy seven, and Florence and Romilly, four.
Dame Esther’s documentary maker husband Desmond Wilcox died in 2000, something she has admitted struggling to come to terms with.
The broadcaster and activist received a Damehood for services to children and older people in the 2015 New Years Honours List.
Campaigner: She received a Damehood for services to children and older people in 2015 (pictured 2017 with King Charles at a reception to mark The Duchess of Cornwall’s 70th)
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