JACKIE STORRAR LOSES BRAVE BATTLE TO CANCER Obituary by Stuart Cameron
Top British singer and broadcaster, Jackie Storrar, has died at the age of 50 following a six year battle with cancer. She was elected into the BCMA (British Country Music Awards) Hall of Fame following the news that she had been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Through it all she was remarkably upbeat, raising awareness of the disease, openly talking about her condition through numerous Television and Radio interviews, and supporting the charity Maggie’s, which had provided so much support for Jackie and her husband, musician Steve Thiebault, during the last six years.
She was a very successful singer, touring the world and visiting over 80 countries with her Steve, and released several successful albums and singles in a career which we thoroughly enjoyed. She was also a natural radio broadcaster, having worked on CMR Nashville, Smooth Radio and Tay FM as well as being Programme Controller at a station in Malta. Her country version of the Motorhead song, “Ace of Spades” made the Hotdisc British & Irish Number 1 position twice, the only song to do that, and gave her an immense amount of airplay on country radio as well as mainstream stations.
Her final wish was to record one last legacy album in between the pain and torture of regular chemo sessions, and to perform tracks from the album in one final show at Carnegie Hall in Dunfermline on Tuesday 20th September. Sadly she passed away just a few days short of that event. She suddenly became very ill and was rushed to hospital at her home in Kirkcaldy. She was surrounded by family and friends and oceans of love as she slipped away on the night of September 14th.
I knew Jackie for many years through her music and her radio career and anyone who knew her will say the same about her – she really was the most easy-going, charming, friendly and helpful person you could ever wish to meet, and I have to say I have never seen a couple like Jackie and Steve so happy and in love with each other. They enjoyed 13 years of marriage together and I had the pleasure to be with them both during the recording of the final album, documenting a film that captured the making of that album. The two wanted the film to be an honest and open account of what they were both going through. There were some immensely uplifting moments as they returned to the grounds of the hotel where they were married, some very poignant times including when they decided to give a lasting tribute to each other at Dunfermline’s Carnegie Hall, a special venue for them both, when they unveiled plaques to each other on two of the seats inside the auditorium.
Both Jackie and Steve gave heart-wrenching interviews on the reality of their situation – an incredibly brave thing to do – but both took it in their stride. Jackie, as professional as ever, was adamant that no question would be off limits, and that if her experience helped someone in any way then this would be worth it. Playing back the footage in the studio it is indeed powerful and moving. Raw emotion was fully exposed. The very sad part is that I genuinely thought we had many more days of filming before the inevitable end. It will be a very strange experience to now set about putting together the film which was never going to have a happy ending. But through the hours of footage accumulated over the past year Jackie’s personality shone like a diamond, and she often told me how excited she was to be making the film because it gave her something to get up for in the mornings. Often she would feel unwell but she would always perk up and was a true professional.
The fact that she survived long enough to hold the album in her hands and hear the finished product meant so much to her, and she hopes that the proceeds from the album will raise a lot of money for Maggie’s, who provide such a wonderful service for cancer sufferers. Their work was highlighted in an interview which Jackie conducted with the manager of their base in Kirkcaldy.
The extensive sleeve notes for her CD album, “Behind Her Eyes,” gives an insight into why Jackie came to record the 15 songs on it as well as giving her the opportunity to pen some words of her own and say what she wanted to say. To give Jackie the final word, she said:
“Living with cancer is not easy but life is sweet. Every morning as I look at myself in the mirror my laughter lines deepen and my battle scars grow, but I’m reminded that I’ve lived!”
And she had one final poignant message for everyone.
“One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it’s worth watching.”
Jackie’s funeral will take place at 3pm on Tuesday 27th September at Kirkcaldy Crematorium, Rosemount Avenue, Kirkcaldy KY2 6HQ. All friends and family welcome. Floral tributes are welcome to Crosbie Matthew Funeral Directors, 199 Nicol Street, Kirkcaldy, Fife KY1 1PF.
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