Rachel Smith RIP

Rachel Smith first came into my life last year,  through the medium of Twitter, where she tweeted as @rachelolgeirsso. Witty and intelligent, Rachel readily engaged others in conversations about politics, life and popular culture. Although we were both active Lib Dems, we’d be as likely to exchange comments about The Apprentice or Strictly Come Dancing as about the coalition or political policies.

Rachel had been an active tweeter through the general election and the formation of the coalition, strong about the Lib Dems place in government and scathing as to what she saw as Labour’s opportunism and hypocrisy, especially where it related to her own constituency of Sheffield Hallam and her MP, the Deputy Prime Minister. So it was no surprise when in July she started blogging. The reason for this soon became clear: Rachel was looking for a distraction whilst she was in hospital, undergoing chemotherapy for leukaemia.Over the summer I shared some time in hospital with Rachel, albeit 200 miles away. I was an in-patient for just nine days and my canula was only for the delivery of antibiotics, nothing compared to Rachel’s gruelling regime. But her concern for me and also for her fellow hospitalised Yorkshire Lib Dem Jennie Rigg was generous and full of the same positivity that she tried to keep alive for her own illness.

In October Rachel was told that her best chance of a cure lay in a bone marrow transplant, The following month she was back in hospital for the treatment she hoped would enable her to continue her life as a wife, mother and community activist. For several weeks her online presence was negligible, as the treatment was, in her words, ‘like being slapped by a giant frying pan’. Before her last course of treatment started, she had set her heart on being home for Christmas. Sadly it was not to be and Rachel died in the early hours of New Year’s Day.

Yesterday Twitter was full of shock at Rachel’s passing, but also of fond memories from those whose lives she had touched, of all political parties and none. We all thought of her husband, two young sons and the rest of her family. Earlier this year, Rachel started an appeal with her sister Cathy to raise money for the leukaemia ward of the Royal Hallamshire Hospital, where Rachel was treated. The appeal is still open and donations in Rachel’s memory are welcome.

Both Caron Lindsay and Spidey have also blogged in memory of Rachel.

Read more by or more about .
This entry was posted in News and Obituaries.
Advert

10 Comments

  • Andrea Gill 3rd Jan '11 - 10:10am

    I only briefly met Rachel in November when I was in Sheffield and she always lit up my twitter stream. She will be sorely missed and my thoughts are with her close friends and her family.

  • Peter Welch 3rd Jan '11 - 9:37pm

    This is very sad. I thought she made excellent points on twitter. She must be a greatly missed by all who knew her.

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

*
*
Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?

Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarJohn Boss 22nd Oct - 6:25pm
    I have just reminded myself of the contributors to the Orange Book and very impressive they are too. We seem far too quick to rewrite...
  • User AvatarJohn Marriott 22nd Oct - 6:13pm
    @James Kenyon They certainly were, James. My wife and I arrived in Edmonton in July 1970 at the fag end of thirty plus years of...
  • User Avatarmarcstevens 22nd Oct - 6:13pm
    Not weakened enough for my partner's union to ensure she is not forced to work extra hours than those contracted and that rest breaks are...
  • User Avatarjohn boss 22nd Oct - 6:06pm
    In order to maximise support for a second referendum, may I suggest that our leaders make overtures to those who voted leave. We must accept...
  • User Avatarchris moore 22nd Oct - 6:05pm
    Not good enough, George. Quoting from the article you cite. The work for offenders "will include manual labour, improving public areas by clearing up litter,...
  • User Avatarfrankie 22nd Oct - 5:52pm
    Lord Wallace thank you for the reply, but I think the point I raised still stands. We should not be looking to drag regions up,...