Her family say that among her final words were: 'Tell David Cameron not to screw up the NHS or I will come back to haunt him'.
What an extraordinary woman. She had a wonderful heart, a big laugh, time for all, and she was tireless and passionate about her many causes (she was a patron of more than sixty) which were invariably to help the less able, including hospital patients, and pensioners. Fiercely protective of nurses (she was one) and the NHS, she was also a famous agony aunt, at one point receiving one thousand letters a week. Broadcaster, campaigner, journalist and novelist, she was, quite rightly, awarded an OBE.
For Virago, she wrote her autobiography. Distressing at times (she was born to young and poor parents in Stepney – a brutal mother and a father who was always on the run) it is also very funny and full of heart warming stories. Before that she wrote novels, some of which were published by the old Sphere.
Married for over fifty years to Des Rayner, they had three children, one of whom, Jay Rayner, has become a famous journalist and broadcaster himself.
It was absolutely brilliant working with her. Certainly, the world is a much, much poorer place without Claire Rayner.
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