Sophisticated sign-off for inspirational woman
1:55pm Wednesday 25th September 2013 in News
BARRY resident and former caretaker chief executive of the Arts Council of Wales Frances Medley, found dead at home, signed herself off in a blog.
The 44-year-old who had battled multiple sclerosis (MS) for eight years is believed to have taken her own life on September 18, but Frances – in her Victorious Endeavours blog this week – insisted she had chosen to end her life in her own way.
She had instructed her friends to publish her thoughts in the wake of her death.
Frances said: “Cruella has simply exhausted me emotionally and physically. The prospect of further rapid deterioration was both terrifying and not one I wanted to entertain. The Spinster decided to end her life in a manner and at a time of my choosing; I am very clear that, whilst the law might say otherwise, I am not committing suicide.
“It has been just over eight years since the Spinster was given the unwelcome gift of a chronic incurable degenerative disease; one that would destroy my life slowly at first and then in leaps and bounds.
“In just over 10 years this Spinster went from being a higher rate tax payer responsible for running a public body to a position last year where I didn’t earn enough to pay tax. The loss of my independence both financially and physically has been extremely difficult for me. Without the financial support of my immediate family I would have had to seek the support of the State; whilst of course I was entitled to resort to this I found the prospect humiliating. Pride is a terrible thing; a real burden at times of need.”
She added: “The Spinster fortunately peaked early on life and so I don’t leave with rafts of regrets or things I wish I’d done. Happy with my lot is perhaps an exaggeration but had the Spinster persisted my ability to do things would have been daily reduced; my potential it seems has been fulfilled. The values by which the Spinster has conducted her life are: clarity, integrity and wisdom with curiosity and creativity added in for Victorious Endeavours. These principles have served the Spinster well as I leaving this mortal coil with a clear conscience albeit with a limited bank balance! Integrity is not a road paved with gold!!
“So live life as though it could be snatched away from you in a heartbeat; take managed risks avoiding recklessness; and treat your fellow travellers with tenderness and care. Hold your tongue at times when you risk blurting out judgemental potentially hurtful comments; we seldom know the full back story.”
Frances, who was diagnosed with MS in 2005, was one of the youngest and most important figures in Welsh arts.
She went on to become a freelance business consultant for the creative sector and was involved with the National Youth Arts Wales Steering Group and the Magdalena Project, which supports women in arts and theatre.
Friends and colleagues paid tribute.
Dot Connell said: “Frances was such an inspiration to anyone who has had to get back up after being knocked down.
“Even after she was diagnosed she was always the only cheering other people up, because quite honestly it's difficult to know what to say sometimes. She lived a fuller life than many who die at twice her age.”
Cllr Lis Burnett said she was “hugely saddened”.
She said: “Frances was one of those special people who made everything around her better, whether that was people she supported or challenged to greater achievements, places she enhanced with her artistic flair or projects she drove forward with her drive and decisiveness. She will be very much missed.”