Tributes have been paid to a terminally ill Chester man who took his own life at a Swiss clinic.
Bob Cole, 68, is understood to have passed away shortly after 2pm this afternoon (Friday, August 14), surrounded by close friends after taking a lethal dose of drugs at the Dignitas euthanasia unit.
Mr Cole had decided to undergo the procedure at the Swiss facility rather than an undergo agonising and prolonged death due to lung cancer.
It comes just 18 months after his wife took her life at the same clinic.
Both felt they’d been forced to travel to Zurich as assisted dying remains illegal under UK law, despite a bill to change this currently making its way through Parliament.
Mr Cole, originally from Manchester but having spent over 35 years living in Blaenau Ffestiniog, was given the devastating news in June that he had only months left to live after being diagnosed with mesothelioma - a lung cancer usually caused by asbestos and attributed to Mr Cole’s career as a carpenter.
Mr Cole’s wife Ann Hall ended her own life at the age of 67 same clinic after being diagnosed with supranuclear palsy - a rare and terminal illness.
Speaking to the Chester Chronicle’s sister paper, the Caernarfon and Denbigh Herald in 2013, Mr Cole said: “Ann fought her illness with typical resolve but she was determined to die with dignity.”
Although he moved to Chester following his wife’s death in 2013, the couple previously ran the award-winning Bryn Elltyd Guesthouse in Tanygrisiau for many years.
Shortly before his death, Mr Cole told The Sun newspaper: “I should be able to die with dignity in my own country, in my own bed.
“The law needs to change. People have got to take a stand, so that’s what I’m doing today”
He added that his cancer had seen him bent double, “crouching like an animal”, adding: “That’s no life.”
'Very sad news'
Mr Cole is understood to have paid over £10,000 for the procedure in Zurich.
Paying tribute was Clare Britton of the Ffestiniog Chamber of Trade, of which Ann was a former secretary.
She said that Bob, with wife Ann, had played a “massive role” in securing the £4.5m redevelopment of Blaenau Ffestiniog town centre that was completed in 2013.
“I’ve known both of them for years and despite Bob moving away from Blaenau a few years ago, he still kept in regular contact with what was going on,” she said.
“Both gave up so much time to helping Blaenau and its people, they will be missed.
“Bob and Ann worked so diligently during the town’s multi million pound regeneration, which in part, is a legacy to their hard work really.
“Much of what you see when you walk down the high street now, is thanks to their hard work as much as anyone else.”
She added: “Most people have a view one way or another on assisted dying, but to hear of Bob’s passing is still very sad news.
“But that said, both Bob and Ann must be admired for the way they put their head above the parapet and went ahead with something they both felt very strongly about.”