Obituary: Sister’s moving tribute to Gordon Marks from Harrogate

Jenny Littlewood said about her brother (Edward) Gordon Marks

“He was a member and secretary of the Harrogate Chess Club for over 40 years.

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Stonefall Cemetery in Harrogate.

“He founded the Harrogate Lunar Society (with Terry Collins and Philip Purkis), an international experimental science society that promotes all aspects of science, but above all curiosity and observation in the everyday.

“He was diagnosed with terminal cancer stemming from undetected prostate cancer.

“He made it up to a pretty steep descent for most of the last 10 days of his life. He wanted to die at home.

“Like many people, his life and ending were complex as the side effects of one of his medications used to treat the cancer were dramatic.

The late (Edward) Gordon Marks of Harrogate.

“However, we had excellent help: the Crisis Intervention Occupational Therapy team at the weekend after discharge from hospital, which gave way to the Bluebird care team and Medi-Quip aids following an assessment by members of a North Yorkshire County Council team.

“The side effects of the medication were managed by the mental health crisis team, with daily monitoring by GPs and psychiatrists.

“As his decline deepened, these teams gave way to the district nurse team and GP to help better manage the oppressing symptoms and provide some level of rest and recovery.

“In that short time members of the chess club came in and watched ‘Casablanca’ with him, stayed with coffee and sandwiches and helped him to the bathroom to chat about old games.

“His usual Friday night pub fish and chip dinner was held indoors on Thursday, with a gang of six around the table singing old tunes (Put your troubles in your old gear bag and smile, smile, smile). my brother watched and sang; his friends from wooding (chopping wood into twigs to sell for charity) stopped by, John Shackleton with dog led the way into the bathroom to say hello, others stood around the bed while he slept and nodded and wish him all the best.

“Then there were moments in the garden where we waved to the neighbours, watched Viv, a longtime family friend, garden and sang all the Welsh songs he knew, which was remarkable.

“Philip comes in with a magical set of wrenches and fixes a rickety table, Terry sorts the paperwork, collects ‘junk’ and generally smooths things over, Agnieska Bak and her cleaning company do the washing and dishes.

“Neighbours, especially Sara, thinking of taking the recycling down for us, stopping by to nod and say hello, leaving a box of biscuits, another neighbor with a gift from Audsley’s master butcher, or a newspaper from his local Coop, or give a hug

“In the end, his last two days in hospital were there with a good team, but not what he wanted.

“Even so, his many friends up to this point had shared old times, movies, a meal and goodbyes.

‘Harrogate was so beautiful.

“The bloom was stunning, almost matching the quality of care we received and the precious time we were given at home with friends, neighbors and family.”

Credits from Jenny Littlewood:

JE Audsley, Harrogate, The Coop, St Winifred’s Road

North Yorkshire Health Authority and County Council, Kashmir Kaur and Wood Schofield

dr Maw, John, Sonja, Jo-Anne, End of Life District Nurses night team and others from Spa Health Center Mowbrey Square

John Shackleton, Margaret, Mick, Dave and many others as part of the Croatia et al charity

Bluebird team, Alexander Road, Harrogate, everyone but especially Evi and Howard

Crisis Mental Health Team (for Harrogate based at Alexander House, Ash Tree Road, Knaresborough), specifically Mark, Cathy, Ben and Graham and psychiatrist Dr. Hearnshaw

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