Tony Nicklinson's ashes scattered
Published 11/05/2013 | 18:06
The family of right-to-die campaigner Tony Nicklinson has scattered his ashes on a rugby pitch before a game was played in his memory.
Mr Nicklinson, 58, who suffered from locked-in syndrome, died on August 22 last year days after losing a landmark High Court right-to-die case. The case, taken on by his wife Jane, will go to the Court of Appeal on Monday and will be heard along with two other challenges.
On Saturday, Mrs Nicklinson and her daughters Lauren and Beth travelled from Melksham, Wiltshire, to Cranbrook rugby club in Kent, where Mr Nicklinson played as a young man.
Scores of friends and well-wishers attended and, in accordance with Mrs Nicklinson's wishes, sang Swing Low, Sweet Chariot before the game between Cranbrook and the Mad Dogs. Mr Nicklinson, nicknamed Royals because his father was in the Royal Marines, had played for both teams.
His friend, Gezz Higgins, 71, said: "The match was wonderful, very competitive and very spiky, which was just the way Tony would have liked it - it was well played. The game ended 32-all.
"Jane spread the ashes right at the centre spot with lots of people here watching - it was emotional. Tony was a popular guy and a character.
"Lots of people here knew him from different stages in life, from school and onwards. A lot of people came from distances to be here and they have all shown their emotions. Jane wanted it to be a chance for people to enjoy themselves."
Up until 2005, when he was paralysed by a stroke while on a business trip to Athens, he was an active sportsman.
Mr Nicklinson refused food in the days leading up to his death and contracted pneumonia. Before he died, three judges sitting at the High Court in London referred to the "terrible predicament" of Mr Nicklinson and described his case as "deeply moving and tragic".
But Lord Justice Toulson, Mr Justice Royce and Mrs Justice Macur unanimously agreed it would be wrong for the court to depart from the long-established legal position that "voluntary euthanasia is murder, however understandable the motives may be".