Mourners gathered to pay their last respects to a police officer who has died 17 months after being diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour.
Dad-of-two Simon Ashcroft, 53, died peacefully at home on Tuesday, November 12 with his family by his side.
He leaves his wife Alison, 54, and two daughters Catherine, 23 and Ruth, 21. Alison and Simon celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary on 22 October this year.
Simon’s funeral took place last week at St Oswald’s RC Church in Longton. The family asked for donations to Brain Tumour Research in lieu of flowers, in Simon’s memory.
A police search advisor (PoISA), Simon, who grew up in Cheshire, was 51 when he was diagnosed with a brain tumour in June 2018.
Three months later he received the devastating news that the tumour was an aggressive glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). With a stark prognosis of between 12 and 18 months, his treatment options were extremely limited.
Simon underwent two lots of brain surgery to debulk the tumour, as well as radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
Simon’s oldest daughter Catherine, said: “My dad was three years off retiring from Lancashire Constabulary as a police sergeant when he was dealt this devastating blow. He had enjoyed a long and successful career protecting his community.
“It’s just so cruel that this awful disease has robbed him of the long and happy retirement he so deserved to enjoy with my mum. We will all miss him so much.”
Paying tribute to his colleague, Chief Inspector Gary Crowe, of Lancashire Constabulary, said: “Simon was a much-loved member of the Lancashire
Police family and we are all deeply saddened at his passing. He was a highly regarded colleague and a close friend to many, all of whom have a happy tale to tell about working with him. He will be dearly missed by us all and our thoughts remain with Alison and the girls”.
In June this year Catherine, a Masters student at the University of Chester, took on a 100mph zipline in Penrhyn Quarry, North Wales, to raise money for the charity Brain Tumour Research. Through sponsorship, Catherine raised more than £1,700 towards research into the disease, which kills more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer.
Catherine said: “Dad’s illness was terminal and, although I knew the money I raised wouldn’t help him, I wanted to do something to help other patients and their families in the future. I was shocked to discover that just one per cent of the national spend on cancer research is spent on brain tumours. This is such an important cause.”
Catherine’s fund-raising didn’t stop at the adrenalin-fuelled zip wire challenge. She and her boyfriend, Cameron Speight, have signed up to take part in the Great Manchester Run on 24 May 2020.
Earlier this week, family friend Emma Dargie, who runs the sewing and embroidery craft business ‘Rags 2 Stitches’, announced that she would make charity gingerbread man brooches in memory of Simon.
All proceeds from the sale of the broaches, which are priced at £1 each, will also go to Brain Tumour Research.
The Ashcroft family’s aim is to raise a combined total of at least £2,740, the amount it costs to sponsor a day of research at one of the charity’s dedicated research centres. Fundraisers who achieve this milestone target can have a unique tile, including a special message, placed on a Brain
Tumour Research Wall of Hope at a centre of their choice.
Catherine said: “We would love to be able to pay tribute to our wonderful dad by funding a whole day of research and remembering him with a commemorative tile. Losing him is devastating but I know he would be proud of what we’re doing to help find a brain tumour cure.”
Brain tumours are indiscriminate; they can affect anyone at any age. What’s more, they kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer, yet just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease.
Community fundraising manager for the north of England, Matthew Price, said: “We were so sorry to learn that Simon had passed away. Our heartfelt condolences go to Alison, Catherine, Ruth, the wider family and all of Simon’s colleagues and friends. He was clearly a much-loved father and husband and hugely respected member of the police force. He will be sorely missed by those close to him.
“We are incredibly grateful to Catherine and family for their continuing commitment to fundraising. Simon’s story reminds us that less than 20% of those diagnosed with a brain tumour survive beyond five years compared with an average of 50% across all cancers. We cannot allow this dreadful situation to continue.”
To donate to Brain Tumour Research in memory of Simon go to: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/catherine-ashcroft2