A veteran councillor whose wife died after battling smoking-related illness has issued a rallying call for people to join him in ditching the habit.
South Tyneside councillor Bill Brady says his wife, Coun Mavis Brady, “might have still been here to enjoy our great grandson” had she not smoked.
The couple both smoked about 20 cigarettes a day but Coun Brady vowed to quit after his wife – the Mayor of South Tyneside in 2000 – sadly passed away in May last year.
Mrs Brady suffered from heart problems, emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and despite giving up cigarettes for a while, she took up smoking again.
Coun Brady, who represents the Whiteleas ward, made his emotional plea as part of Stoptober, a month-long initiative aiming to encourage the region’s 460,000 smokers to quit.
He said: “I smoked since I was 10 and never thought about giving up until Mavis passed away.
“The day after she died I decided I was not going to smoke again.
“It’s such a shame she couldn’t give up, as if she had have quit sooner she might have still been here to enjoy our great grandson, Sean, who is nearly five.
“We had two children, two grandchildren and our great grandson and have had lovely times together as a family.
“It’s awful to witness how smoking can have such devastating effects on a family.
“As an ex-smoker, I know how difficult it is, but please don’t give up giving up, as you’ll really feel the benefits.”
Stoptober is organised by Public Health England.
SouthTyneside Council’s lead member for health and wellbeing, Coun Fay Cunningham, praised her fellow councillor.
She said: “We know how difficult it is to quit, as smoking is a habit. That’s why I think it’s great news Bill is encouraging others to quit like he did.
“In South Tyneside, lung cancer is our biggest killer and if more people stop, so many more lives could be saved. I would urge anyone thinking of quitting to find the courage to seek support by calling 0800 531 6317.”