John Stapleton remembers Lynn Faulds Wood a year on

A year on from the death of his wife Lynn Faulds Wood, presenter John Stapleton joined Lorraine Kelly today live in the studio.

“It’s been a difficult year, obviously. Challenging year but I’ve been helped enormously by my son, Nick and his wife, Lisa and friends, family and dear neighbours have been fantastic. It has been difficult for everybody, not just me this year because of the pandemic and the restrictions imposed upon us, quite rightly.”

Lorraine, a firm friend of Lynn’s, described her as: ‘The first woman to talk about poo on the telly, you could just hear the barriers being broken down.”

To which John responded with: “30 years ago she was first diagnosed with bowel cancer and at that time bowel cancer was very much the Cinderella of the cancers in the UK.

“There was very little talked about, there was not much money put towards campaigning about it. People didn’t know about it, simply. When Lynn was diagnosed, neither of us really knew what bowel cancer was. And once she’d been diagnosed and once she’d had the operation she said, ‘I’m going to change this.’

Lynn, a regular on television screens for decades, hosted programmes such as Watchdog alongside John and was rights advice expert for several programmes including TV-am, Open Air and Going Live!

Left, BBC Watchdog with Lynn and John in 1987, inset, John on Lorraine today.

Speaking of Lynn’s bowel cancer campaign, he added,

“The first thing she found out was that there wasn’t even an agreed list of symptoms for people to look at. So how were people supposed to know whether they’d got it or not, whether they should see the doctor? So Lynn knocked a few heads together, she was rather good at that if you remember?

“And she talked to a lot of doctors and they came up with this evidence-based list of symptoms, which the Department of Health at last accepted. An indication of the need for that was that she came on GMTV… we just put a caption up on the symptoms and it got 27,000 enquiries in one day. It’s just awareness, it’s making people aware of the facts.”

Speaking about the ‘No Butts’ campaign, Lorraine expressed, ‘But we’re standing on the shoulders of a giant. We’re just following what she did. We can’t quantify how many people she saved, but it’s got to be a lot of people.’

Sadly Lynn died on the 24th April last year during lockdown 1.0 from a stroke, but she had also been diagnosed with the autoimmune condition Sticky Blood Syndrome.

“Lynn managed it brilliantly for four years, but in the end it got her. It’s the same story as bowel cancer, not enough people know about it, even now.

Not enough doctors and nurses know about the symptoms and that’s one of the issues she was out campaigning about right until the end of her days… All the people we saw did their best, but we need information.” – John Stapleton

  • Over 42,000 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer each year in the UK and more than 16,000 people die from the disease – that’s over 44 people every day

  • Bowel cancer is the UK’s second biggest cancer killer. However, it shouldn’t be because it is treatable and curable especially if diagnosed early. Nearly everyone survives bowel cancer if diagnosed at the earliest stage, but this drops significantly as the disease develops – early diagnosis really does save lives

  • Bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the UK, after breast, prostate and lung cancers

  • Every 15 minutes in the UK someone is diagnosed with bowel cancer. Every 30 minutes someone dies from the disease in the UK

  • Bowel cancer is more common in the over 50s but it can affect people of all ages. More than 2,500 people under 50 are diagnosed with bowel cancer in the UK every year

  • 1 in 15 men and 1 in 18 women will be diagnosed with bowel cancer during their lifetime

Lorraine airs weekdays at 9 am on ITV, STV and UTV, and catch up ITV Hub 

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