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Rayner's last words aimed at PM


Tributes have been paid to Claire Rayner, who has died at the age of 79

Tributes have been paid to Claire Rayner, who has died at the age of 79

Tributes have been paid to Claire Rayner, who has died at the age of 79

Friends and colleagues have praised agony aunt and campaigner Claire Rayner as someone who showed her compassion and concern right up until the end of her life.

The writer and broadcaster - who died on Monday aged 79 - told relatives she wanted her final words to be: "Tell David Cameron that if he screws up my beloved NHS I'll come back and bloody haunt him."

Rayner had devoted her life to caring for others - through her work as a nurse, an advice columnist and later as a campaigner for patients' rights.

She had not recovered from emergency intestinal surgery in May and knew her death was imminent over the weekend. She died in hospital near her home in Harrow, north-west London.

Her husband, Des Rayner, to whom she was married for 53 years, said: "I have lost my best friend and my soulmate. I am immensely proud of her."

Her death touched many with whom she had either worked or inspired.

Katherine Murphy, chief executive of the Patients Association - of which Rayner was president - said: "She was a figurehead and inspiration to us all. She cared so deeply that the voice of the patient should be heard and worked tirelessly to ensure that care issues were given prominence in all health matters. She was a wonderful person, an inspiration to us all and she will be missed so much by everyone."

Baroness Helena Kennedy said: "She was the best of company and could always be found in the middle of a laughing, adoring crowd. The key thing about Claire was that she was a campaigner to her toes - her mission was to improve the lot of others and she did it with great humility and common sense."

Rayner, also survived by children Amanda, Adam and Jay, and her four grandchildren, started her career in the National Health Service, working as a nurse.

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