Terminally ill Nottingham grandma goes to her own wake and has 'best day of her life'

Jean was given enough flowers to fill a car, her daughter said
-Credit: (Image: Deborah Owusu)


A terminally ill Nottingham grandma who went to her own wake has described the experience as "heart-warming and a bit tear-jerking". Jean Bradley, 85, was inundated with a car full of flowers by family members and friends at a celebration of her life.

The "living wake", which was held at Bestwood Road Sports and Social Club on May 25, saw 70 people travel from as far as London and Great Yarmouth. "It was wonderful. It was heart-warming and a bit tear-jerking," said Ms Bradley.

The great-grandmother from Bilborough was told she had terminal oesophageal cancer in March and was given less than a year to live. The devastating news prompted her and her daughter, Deborah Owusu, to organise the get-together, which was named 'give me flowers while I'm alive'.

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"I was talking to her about maybe getting everyone together who I know would want to come to her funeral that she hasn't seen in a long time," said Ms Owusu.

"I knew she had great-grandchildren she hadn't seen in many years. I wanted her to be well enough to enjoy it as well, I thought if we do it at the three-month stage she would be well enough.

The 57-year-old, who lives in Birmingham, added: "I had to tell everyone this is it, if you don't come to this one there won't be one when she's gone."

Ms Bradley, who has lived in Nottingham all her life, delivered her own eulogy and heard a moving speech by her ex-husband. She later took to the dancefloor to party until past midnight.

"I really enjoyed it and Deborah did a hell of a good job," she said. "It brought all the family together, I hadn't seen some people in 30 years.

"I was excited because I didn't know what to expect. It was a big turnout."

Jean with her daughter Deborah
Jean with her daughter Deborah -Credit:Deborah Owusu

Ms Owusu continued: "It was the best day of her life, she had a brilliant time and had a car full of flowers at the end. How many times do you get to see everyone before you go? People told me it's such a good idea."

In spite of all the fun, she described the party as "one of the hardest things I've had to do in my life", adding: "I wanted to make sure she did everything she wanted before she left.

"Some people were apprehensive about coming but when they came realised it was a celebration of life instead of mourning of her death."