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Wife’s golf event at Castle Combe in memory of husband

Ruth Ridewood had been married for just a year when her beloved husband and life-long friend Tony was diagnosed with cancer.

The couple had gone out together aged 14, when they were both pupils at Ralph Allen school.

They then went their separate ways, but were re-united after a chance meeting, which ended in their marriage in October 2012.

Ruth said: “We really made the most of our time together, we had a fantastic time, wonderful holidays and time with friends and family.”

Tony, a stonemason and father of three, died in July aged 52, after a relatively brief battle with cancer.

He had been organising a golf day and dinner to raise funds for a new cancer centre at the Royal United Hospital, before he died.

Ruth has decided to carry on this work, and the event, which has more than 80 golfers taking part, will be held at The Manor House golf club in Castle Combe on Thursday, October 16.

She has had huge support from family and friends, including Tony’s employers Stonewood Builders.

“Tony had already done most of the work for the event, and he was passionate about helping the hospital which has been so fantastic to us,” she said.

It was during a trip to Rome in June 2013 that Tony began to feel unwell.

“He got very tired after walking up a lot of steps, but we never suspected anything was seriously wrong,” said Ruth.

A chest infection followed, and after two courses of antibiotics, his condition did not improve.

He was referred to the RUH, where tests confirmed the shock diagnosis – Tony had inoperable lung cancer.

“We were shocked and upset, but we knew there was treatment available, we did not think it was the end,” said Ruth.

A course of chemotherapy and radiotherapy was successful at first, and Tony and Ruth enjoyed a wonderful Christmas together last year,  with Tony’s sons and other family.

“Then the blow came in June this year, we were told the cancer had come back, but it had spread elsewhere.

“The doctors and nurses at the RUH were fantastic, we could not have gone through it without their help and support, they are amazing people.

“That is why Tony and I wanted to do something to thank them for all their help – people do not realise what fantastic work is being done there behind closed doors.”

Tony was treated in the William Budd cancer ward.

“The staff were fantastic, but the building is very old, lots of the buildings at the RUH are old, so we wanted to raise money for the new centre,” said Ruth.

A new £23million state of the art cancer centre will open at the RUH in 2018, and the Forever Friends Appeal is busy raising funds for it.

Ruth hopes to raise £7,000 at the golf day and dinner, she has had wonderful support from people and businesses in Bath for donations and prizes.

The centre will transform care for patients and families.

“Tony was loved by lots of people, he was such a loveable person, I just wish we could have had more time together after finding each other again.

“Organising the golf day has kept me busy, and I know it would make Tony happy,” she said. “I know it will be a wonderful occasion, we will remember and pay tribute to Tony, but it will be sad as well.”

Tony’s son, Mike Ridewood, 31, will travel home from New York to be at the fundraiser.

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