I’m immensely proud of my mother’s courage

Tina Helme's mother Jean was told she had six months to live after the removal of a tumour in her spine
Tina Helme's mother Jean was told she had six months to live after the removal of a tumour in her spine
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This week’s column is to tell you all about my remarkable mother.

In 1959 my mother Jean and father Leslie Gulliver were courting, happy and very much in love.

They both lived in Gosport – my mum in Tintern Road and my dad was in the army so had several addresses all around the world.

My dad was a proud owner of a Norton motorcycle.

They were travelling back towards my mother’s home both on the motorcycle one afternoon.

This afternoon was going to change their lives.

A drunk taxi driver drove into my parents as they travelled past the fish and chip shop in Anne’s Hill Road, Gosport. They were only driving 15 miles an hour.

My father was treated for his injuries at the scene and my mother was rushed to hospital.

After they recovered from their injuries they married in October 1959. I was born in the summer of 1960 and my sister Debbie in 1962.

We then briefly lived in Epsom with my grandad Leslie. We were blessed to see the racehorses training for events such as Derby day, as our home was literally next to the racecourse.

My mum complained continuously of backache.Doctors believed it was having two pregnancies close together causing the problem. However, specialist tests revealed she had an 18- inch tumour up her spine.

We moved back to Gosport in 1965 and I went to Leesland Infants School and then Rowner Junior School.

My mother tried to walk us to school but was getting blown away by the wind on the journey. She was painfully thin at 5ft 3 and five-and-a-half stone.

Just before Christmas 1967 my mother went to Southampton General Hospital for an eight-hour operation to remove the tumour. We were devastated as we were also told my mother may not pull through the pioneering surgery.

The surgeons packed my mother in ice while they slowly removed the cancerous tumour.

The doctors told us that my mum had six months to live and she was not paralysed from her waist down. She had lost all her hair and was near to death’s door.

Yet the life she had with us was the miracle that spurred her to get stronger one day at a time. My mum is now 83 and is still living in Gosport in Beechcroft Manor nursing home.

We are immensely proud of the courage shown throughout her life. Miracles do happen.

Wishing you all a peaceful week.