Outgoing Mayor prepares to pass on the chains (From Swindon Advertiser)
Outgoing Mayor prepares to pass on the chains
7:10pm Wednesday 18th may 2011
POPULAR Rex Barnett will today spend his last full day as Swindon’s Mayor before beginning a gruelling course of chemotherapy.
the 72-year-old first citizen revealed publicly for the first time last week that he is suffering from an asbestos-related lung cancer, which is likely to have stemmed from his time working in the British Rail workshops in Swindon back in the 1950s.
He was told last month by doctors that he is suffering from epithelioid mesothelioma.
Today, joined by his wife, Mayoress Sandra Barnett, Rex was at the Great Western Hospital for chemotherapy treatment in a bid to slow down the cancer.
“I’m ready for Thursday,” said Rex. “At least with the start of the treatment I can say we are now onto the next stage of the journey.
“I don’t doubt we will have our moments when we think ‘oh dear, what’s going to happen’, but we are quite a strong little unit, Sandra and myself, we rub off each other well and I think we can do it.”
Tomorrow, the Haydon Wick councillor will sign off an amazing year by handing over the mayoral reins to Coun Ray Ballman at Mayor Making in the afternoon, followed by the civic dinner at Steam in the evening. despite beginning the first of six spells of chemotherapy, battling Rex said he is determined to attend both civic functions.
“I was at the hospital on Tuesday to get a CT scan ready for Thursday when two Macmillan nurses who will be looking after me told Sandra that they think I’ll be fine for Friday,” he added.
“It will be nice to sign off properly. the nurses said that if everything goes okay my immune system won’t go down for another seven days, so that is brilliant news.”
Rex said he had been overwhelmed by messages of support from the public since news of his illness broke last week. Strangers have stopped him in the street to wish him the best of luck, and there has been a warmth wherever he has gone.
“Even in the hospital today, we passed a lady who was waiting to have an operation on her hand, she saw me and said ‘good luck’ – and that poor lady was struggling herself. Isn’t that amazing?
“It makes me feel so proud to be a Swindonian to realise that people do care. And that is what I have been saying all along, that Swindon people are carers.”
He added: “I can’t believe we are here, my last few days as mayor. this is the down bit for me and I’m not particularly looking forward to Monday when I’ll say to Sandra ‘What are we going to do today?’ “That is going to be the down bit because I have loved meeting the people of Swindon.”
<a href="http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/9034811.Outgoing_Mayor_prepares_to_pass_on_the_chains/tag:news.google.com,2005:cluster=http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/9034811.Outgoing_Mayor_prepares_to_pass_on_the_chains/Wed, 18 May 2011 18:11:37 GMT 00:00">Outgoing Mayor prepares to pass on the chains (From Swindon Advertiser)