A poignant last word from ra­dio pre­sen­ter

Western Mail - - NEWS - CRAIG SIMP­SON and ANNA LEWIS news­desk@waleson­line.co.uk

RACHAEL Bland’s poignant fi­nal recording has been re­leased, with the pod­caster dis­cussing how her fu­ture was taken away.

The Welsh BBC broad­caster died ear­lier this month aged 40 af­ter suf­fer­ing from breast can­cer, which she doc­u­mented on You, Me and the Big C.

Recorded be­fore her death on Septem­ber 5, the fi­nal pod­cast with the mother-of-one fea­tures a frank con­ver­sa­tion about re­strain­ing her­self from “weep­ing” over her young son Fred­die.

The Creigiau-born pre­sen­ter also de­scribes tear­fully look­ing into her hus­band Steve’s eyes, and los­ing the prospect of a fu­ture with him.

Rachael, with friends and fel­low pre­sen­ters Deb­o­rah James and Lau­ren Ma­hon, dis­cussed the “new nor­mal” in the fi­nal show as a trio.

The Ra­dio 5 Live broad­caster said: “I know I’m prob­a­bly not go­ing to be liv­ing for much longer, but I don’t think about it too deeply be­cause I wouldn’t be able to look at Fred­die with­out weep­ing all over him.

“I want to spend valu­able time with him – what­ever time I have left – I want it to be good time.”

Rachael be­gan pre­par­ing ma­te­rial to leave be­hind for her young son af­ter her death, com­pil­ing a mem­oir of sto­ries and ad­vice she wished to im­part, and plan­ning years of birthday gifts for him to re­ceive as he grows up.

She planned for one of th­ese gifts to be a col­lec­tion of note­books, so he could see his mother’s hand­writ­ing.

But she could not make the plans for the fu­ture she once imag­ined with her hus­band.

She said on the pod­cast: “When Steve and I met we would have th­ese sweet con­ver­sa­tions about when we grow old.

“We’re go­ing to sit there and we will be 70 years old, sat on a bench by the coast eat­ing our fish and chips.

“That was some­thing that was al­ways there to look for­ward.

“But the new nor­mal kind of took that away. You weren’t able to have those con­ver­sa­tions and those in­no­cent thoughts. If I was cry­ing all the time, it would make it harder for him and we wouldn’t be hav­ing a nice time. But that’s not to say there aren’t nights where we kind of look each other in the eye and have a good old cry about it.”

Sign­ing off from the fi­nal pod­cast, recorded in the month be­fore her death, the jour­nal­ist says they will be back next week.

In an ad­den­dum to the recording, friend Ma­hon says: “Un­for­tu­nately, as you are all aware, Rachael will not be back next week. Her wish was for the pod­cast for con­tinue. We will grant her that wish.”

> Rachael with hus­band Steve and son Fred­die

> BBC Ra­dio 5 Live news reader Rachael Bland

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