Moving documentary captures final memories of brave South Shields man's cancer battle
Lee Hall faced his diagnosis head on and refused to let the fact his condition was terminal stop him from living his life.
The 45-year-old continued to have a zest for life - something his wife Heather says she is immensely proud of.
Following a diagnosis, Lee agreed to take part in a four-part documentary series.
My Wonderful Life is based on the farewell messages of people approaching the end of life and will be aired on Sky One and Now TV from February 15 at 9pm.
Lee’s story will be featured on March 8.
The series, narrated by Julie Walters, has been produced over a three-year period and gave those diagnosed with a terminal illness the chance to record messages and arrange gifts and surprises for the people they love, for after they’ve gone.
Lee, from Blenhiem Walk, South Shields, lost his cancer battle on October 29, 2016.
Heather, who featured in the documentary with him, said: “We were contacted by Chalkboard, through Cancer Connections, and asked Lee if he would like to take part in the series.
“They would come up and see us for a few days and spend the time following us around, filming everything Lee and I did together and with the grandchildren.
“When Lee said he wanted to do it, I was a bit nervous at first, but over time I got used to it and it was something Lee wanted to do.
“We did have a laugh but at the same time it was frightening. Doing the interviews made everything more real.
“They were such lovely people and they kept in touch. When Lee died they were always on the phone seeing how I was.
“I have seen the documentary, as they wanted me to see it first to make sure I was okay with it.
“Lee is so amusing - it has showcased Lee perfectly. And he managed to get his point across that just because he had been diagnosed with cancer, his life didn’t stop then.
“He has made me immensely proud.”
Lee, a former taxi driver and step-dad to a stepfather to Amy and Barry, had first discovered a cancerous mole on his back in March 2012. He underwent two operations which appeared to have been successful.
But in October 2014, he was told it was back and this time it was terminal.
Despite the prognosis, he set about raising funds for Cancer Connections, a South Tyneside-based cancer charity, that provided support to himself and his family.
Adam MacDonald, director of Sky One, said: “I’d like to offer my heartfelt thanks to all of the contributors who’ve worked on this programme over the last few years for sharing their lives with us over this most challenging of times. They have, together with Chalkboard, produced a really important piece of television that is a brave, bold, moving, funny, sad, uplifting celebration of life and the importance of memory.”
Warwick Banks, series editor added: “From the outset, Sky has been hugely supportive of our vision for My Wonderful Life, which was to make a series on life-limiting illness that is actually life-affirming. The result is warm and celebratory and, most importantly, an appropriate memorial to each one of our brave, funny, inspiring contributors.”
Deborah Roberts, co-founder of South Tyneside charity Cancer Connections, ays when she first mentioned the series ‘My Wonderful Life’ to Lee he jumped at the chance.
She said: “I showed him the email and he just said I want to do it.
“Lee was just a loud, friendly, considerate and thoughtful person and such an amazing fundraiser. He was involved in everything.
“He was a doting husband and he loved his step-kids and his grandchildren.
“It’s priceless what he has left for Heather and his family and for us.
“He is such a big miss as he was such a huge character.
“The programme shows that people do have a choice in how they live their life after they’ve been diagnosed with terminal cancer.
“And Lee has shown this. He has created memories for his loved ones to cherish.”
* My wonderful Life launches on February 15 at 9pm on Sky One and Now TV. Lee’s story will be aired on March 8.