BBC star Dianne Oxberry’s husband reveals she died of ovarian cancer
North West Tonight weather presenter Dianne Oxberry died on January 10 aged 51
The heartbroken husband of late BBC weather presenter Dianne Oxberry has revealed she died of ovarian cancer, as he launched a fund in her name.
The North West Tonight presenter fell ill over Christmas, and died on January 10 aged 51, leaving behind husband Ian Hindle and two young children.
Now Mr Hindle has launched a JustGiving page to raise awareness of her condition – saying she died ‘after a very short battle with ovarian cancer’.
The cameraman told how he hoped to ‘kick start a charity’ to raise awareness about the ‘appalling disease’. More than £2,500 was raised in the first 20 hours.
Under a photograph of the couple on a beach, Mr Hindle wrote on JustGiving: ‘Dianne died in early January after a very short battle with ovarian cancer.
‘The tragic impact was felt not only by her family and friends, but also by the wider public whose lives she touched across more than 20 years’ TV and radio presenting.
‘The money raised will be used to help families and individuals who have, or are suffering from, this aggressive disease.
‘The aim is also to raise awareness about ovarian cancer and its after-effects, particularly where families have suffered sudden loss, which can often be the case with this appalling disease.’
Ian Hindle posted a photograph on JustGiving of him on a beach with the late Miss Oxberry
Just six weeks before her death, she had been well enough to take part in a 100-mile charity relay for Children In Need, and was joking with colleagues on Twitter.
However, Miss Oxberry declined rapidly and did not return to work after Christmas. BBC staff were only told of her illness about three days before her death.
BBC reporters including fellow weather presenter Simon King were in tears earlier this month as they paid tribute to her live on air following the sudden death.
Mr King said: ‘It’s devastating, absolutely devastating. It has been such a quick process, this whole thing. It has hit us like a tonne of bricks, it really has.’
Oxberry (right) with her BBC North West Tonight colleagues (from left) Richard Askam, Roger Johnson and Annabel Tiffin
Miss Oxberry’s children are still of primary school age. Following her death, Mr Hindle, paid tribute to an ‘amazing wife and mother’, who had left a ‘massive void’.
‘She was an inspiration to all who knew and loved her but also to the people who watched and welcomed her into their homes each night as if she were part of their family too.
‘She will leave a massive void in our lives but because of the remarkable person she was she will forever live on in our hearts. The children and I will miss her more than anyone can imagine.’
Miss Oxberry was also famously adored by comedian Peter Kay, who once crawled on his hands and knees to get close to her as she gave a forecast on live TV.
BBC staff were only told of Miss Oxberry’s illness about three days before her death
Many of the BBC presenter’s colleagues broke down when they were told of her death at the Christie Hospital in Manchester.
What is ovarian cancer and what are symptoms of the ‘silent killer’?
Ovarian cancer affects more than 6,500 women in the UK each year.
It is the fifth most common cancer among women. It is most common in women who have had the menopause but it can affect women of any age.
About 80 per cent of ovarian cancer cases are diagnosed in the advanced stages of the disease.
At the time of diagnosis, 60 per cent of ovarian cancers will have already spread to other parts of the body, bringing the five-year survival rate down to 30 per cent from 90 per cent in the earliest stage.
It’s diagnosed so late because of its location in the pelvis. The symptoms of ovarian cancer can be difficult to recognise, particularly early on.
They’re often the same as symptoms of less serious conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS).
These can include feeling constantly bloated, a swollen tummy, discomfort in your tummy or pelvic area, feeling full quickly when eating, or needing to use the toilet more often or more urgently than normal.
Women should see their GP if they have been feeling bloated most days for the last three weeks.
A source told the Daily Mail: ‘Everyone is so shocked. It is all so sudden. Members of the North West Tonight team were in tears when the news came through yesterday.
‘No one can believe it. She seemed so healthy and was tweeting about life and work as recently as the beginning of December.’
Another said: ‘It’s absolutely awful. No one had any idea that anything was wrong – that she was unwell. You almost have two reactions. There is the horror and grief and sadness. And then there is the realisation that, ‘******** hell, life can do that’.
North West Tonight presenter Roger Johnson, who walked the Children In Need relay with Miss Oxberry last November, said that she would be missed ‘terribly’.
‘We are heartbroken by Dianne’s death. It is almost impossible to comprehend. Dianne was North West Tonight. It’s hard to imagine the programme without her.’
Miss Oxberry, who was born in Sunderland and lived in Sale in Greater Manchester, had become one of the best known figures on the BBC’s North West television and radio services.
She joined North West Tonight nearly 25 years ago after studying at the Met Office, and became its main weather presenter.
She also fronted Inside Out North West, its regional current affairs programme and presented a number of programmes on BBC Radio Manchester including its breakfast show.
Before that, Miss Oxberry cut her teeth presenting the weather on Radio 1, alongside Steve Wright and Simon Mayo. She eventually moved north to present the children’s show, The 8.15 from Manchester.
Mr Mayo – who now works on Radio 2 – said earlier this month that he was ‘devastated’ by the news of Miss Oxberry’s death.
‘She was a wonderful, joyous part of our breakfast team at Radio 1. I loved working with her.’
Miss Oxberry had also left a strong impression on her female colleagues, as a strong supporter of their fight for equal pay.
Dianne (right with Pudsey) was working as recently as December and took part in a 100-mile relay walk for Children In Need with co-hosts Roger Johnson and Annabel Tiffin
Radio 5 Live host Rachel Burden said earlier this month: ‘I got to know her as part of the network of BBC Women. We shared experiences together.
‘She was fiercely bright and funny and generous with her time, and she was a highly supportive colleague to others in the BBC.’
It is understood that Miss Oxberry was fighting her own equal pay case with the BBC, which remained unresolved at the time of her sudden death.
Broadcaster Clare Balding added that Oxberry was ‘a courageous warrior on behalf of women fighting for equality’. ‘Her star will shine on,’ she said.