Welsh Arts chief took her own life following MS battle

INQUEST: Barry woman and former Welsh Arts Council chief Frances Medley

INQUEST: Barry woman and former Welsh Arts Council chief Frances Medley

First published in News

AN INQUEST heard how a former Welsh Arts Council chief took her own life at her Barry home after writing an internet "sign off" detailing her struggle with multiple sclerosis (MS).

Cardiff Coroner's Court heard how Frances Medley, 44, was heartbroken at having to give up her career after being struck down with MS eight years ago.

Before she ended her life, using drugs purchased online from China, she wrote in her "A Sophisticated Sign Off" blog: "I am very clear that, whilst the law might say otherwise, I AM NOT COMMITTING SUICIDE".

She left instructions with her closest friends to update the blog with her reasons for "calling it a day".

Her posthumous blog said: "The prospect of further rapid deterioration was both terrifying and not one I wanted to entertain.

"I decided to end my life in a manner and at a time of my choosing."

Her body was discovered in her Barry home after worried neighbours found a note in the front door window saying: "Do not enter. Please call the police and call my brother Mark."

Officers forced entry and discovered Ms Medley's body in bed and her "extremely tidy" house prepared with labels saying what items she wanted people to have.

Ms Medley's blog explained that she found the loss of her physical and financial independence "extremely difficult".

She went on to say: "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 I persisted, my ability to do things would have been daily reduced; my potential it seems has been fulfilled."

Ms Medley, who was one of the leading lights of the Welsh arts scene and a keen supporter of women in the arts, even gave advice as a parting message on the blog.

She wrote: "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."

Coroner Christopher Wooley told the inquest: "Frances Medley was obviously a very determined lady who did well in her career.

"She was a very strong character and highly intelligent. Her life was beginning to contract and she found the burden hard the bear."

The coroner recorded a verdict that Miss Medley ended her own life.

Speaking after the inquest, friend and colleague Gilly Adams said: "Fran was a remarkable woman who demonstrated great courage and determination.

"She was a very much loved and respected member of the arts community in Wales."

Her brother Mark said: "She will be sorely missed by everybody."

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