'My family are the best in the world': Tear-jerking film shows final days of cancer-stricken granddad, 84, as he faces death with humour and dignity

Chris Parsons
Yahoo! News

The final moments of a beloved relative are normally an intensely private and grief-stricken family affair.

But bed-ridden cancer victim Ray Sharpe faced his illness with good nature, humour and dignity.

Now Ray, 84, has starred in a tear-jerking bedside diary filmed by his granddaughter - which helped her earn a first class honors degree.






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In the moving nine-minute film Ray, born and bred in Nottingham, can be seen cracking jokes and even singing songs with his family as he lives out his last days.

He also declares his love for his 'wonderful family' as he is cared for and doted on by his loyal 82-year-old wife of 60 years.



The short film, which is shot at the retired factory worker's home in Nottingham, reveals the heart-warming, and often hilarious, moments of the family as they gather to share Ray's memories.

In one laugh-out-loud moment a light bulb blows and Ray quips: 'I thought I'd gone. Has the Lord taken me?'

Despite being barely able to move, Ray continues to entertain his family with his side-ways look at life.


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Aside from the lighter moments, the film, which gained Leah Sharpe a first for art photography at Derby University, there are some genuine tender moments.

One poignant scene shows Ray and Marion – who had been married for 60 years - both singing the words to 'My Grandfather's Clock'.

The film is modelled on the final scenes of the classic comedy the Royle Family - which sees Jim Royle and co gathered around 'Nana' shortly before she dies.

Tragically, Ray died just a week after the film was made in April, but Leah says it is a lasting memorial to her granddad.

She said: 'It was all completely unscripted and unplanned.

'We've always said in our family we're a bit like the Royle Family and the film captures that pretty well.


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'It's happy and poignant at the same time but I'm proud of how it came out.

'Our tutors gave us a brief to show who we were as artists in our final project.

'Having the camera there all the time takes you out of the situation a bit and works like a distraction.

'The situation wasn't great but I didn't want to show the morbid side, I think it's actually a happy film in a lot of ways.

'It all stemmed from my fascination with reality TV – I'm a bit addicted to it but what they show is far from real.


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'But I think what I captured was about as real as you can get.

'My grandparents were completely natural on the film – I did a project before where I filmed us covertly and they were exactly the same whether they knew the camera was there or not.

'My grandad had a great sense of humour, that's just how he was – even though he was in a lot of pain he never let on.

'What comes through is the sense of humour and how normal they were with each other despite the situation.

The film, which has been watched thousands of times on the internet, is now being showcased in an exhibition of young film-makers in London.