Remembering Rayner

Hannah ThompsonYouGovLabs and UK Public Opinion Website Editor
October 14, 2010, 8:20 PM GMT+0

As many admirers mourn the death of forthright agony aunt and NHS campaigner, Claire Rayner, many users have paid tribute to the remarkable lady on the TellYouGov leaderboard .

  • Claire Rayner’s volume score has risen by 32 points to a respectable 95 in the past 48 hours.
  • Sentiment score for the agony aunt has risen by 34 points in the past 48 hours to a positive 43, and the few negative comments received have actually only been from those writing sadly about her death - giving negative points but actually commending the campaigner further.
  • Several tyggers have said they are ‘sad to hear of her passing’ while another called her 'outstanding in all respects'.
  • Rayner has been praised as ‘wonderful’, 'lovely' and ‘great’, with a ‘heart of gold’.
  • A couple of users remarked that her death is ‘a sorry loss to the country’ and a ‘very sad day for women, children and people everywhere’ because of her tireless campaign work and status as ‘an icon of inspiration to many, to the end.’

A prolific career

Claire Rayner, who was aged 79, had a prolific career as a writer, midwife, medical journalist and charity campaigner and was awarded an OBE for her services to women’s issues and health in 1996. The mother of three was famous for her progressive and upfront attitude about health issues, such as safe sex, and her advice columns and then forward-thinking 1968 sex manual People in Love were a source of much support and guidance for many in an era when certain topics were just not talked about. Rayner also carried out extensive charity work and sat on various government health committees, and was named medical journalist of the year in 1987. Her autobiography, How Did I Get From There to Here? was published in 2003.

Having survived a breast cancer diagnosis to become a campaigner against the disease, Rayner never recovered from the intestinal surgery she received in May of this year. She passed away in hospital on Monday 11th October, leaving her husband Des and three children, including the food critic and writer Jay Rayner.

Given her dedication to healthcare it is perhaps not surprising that Rayner asked her relatives to publicly announce her last words as being: ‘Tell David Cameron that if he screws up my beloved NHS I’ll come back and bloody haunt him,’ prompting one tygger to congratulate the comments as ‘inspired’.

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