My partner Judith was first diagnosed with ovarian cancer in early 2018. She had no family history of cancer and was in great health generally. Her symptoms were only a slight pain, so her first thought was that she had strained something. So she didn’t feel any urgency but, having visited her GP and gone for scans, the diagnosis came as a real shock. Although the ensuing chemotherapy was hard, Judith was always a very positive person and throughout her treatment she remained optimistic and upbeat. After a year she did indeed receive the all clear – but only two or three months later we knew that things were not right and the cancer had returned. Judith passed away in August 2020 after two years of cancer, which she faced with her typical bravery, good humour and kindness to others.
Ovarian cancer is known as the silent killer as it is easy to mistake any symptoms for other, benign conditions. So I would urge all women to speak to their GP or get tested as early as possible if you have any worries about your health.
Throughout her illness, Judith continued her curiosity and love of life. I often called her ‘Joogle’ as she had a detailed interest and great knowledge of all things random! We loved to travel, with an ambition to explore every country in the world, and we were progressing well though that list. Judith would do hours of research, ensuring that we always saw the most interesting things and signed up for the most amazing experiences wherever we went.
Judith had many friends and was a great friend to have. She was always on a mission to solve a problem and help someone out with something. Her philosophy was to listen and pay attention to people and she had a great memory for long ago conversations. Never one to celebrate a birthday particularly, it was a great hobby of hers to seek out little ‘love gifts’ which she knew would be truly appreciated and present them to friends throughout the year.
Judith loved flags and could describe each and every one! She was a competitive jigsaw master and was never boring. She always had ideas for things to do!
Most of all, Judith loved to write and participate in quizzes. Every year, she researched new material and ran quiz evenings for various charities. She was also a real “whizz” at baking and every alternate year we would hold a large garden party, raising money by providing as much tea and homemade cake as people could eat!
During her illness, we considered how we might raise money to help others with this terrible disease and the idea of a Quiz Book combined with a Recipe Book was conceived! We also discussed which charity we wanted to support and The Eve Appeal resonated with both of us. I think the work The Eve Appeal does is amazing and everyone I have spoken to throughout have been so kind and helpful.
So after Judith tragically passed away, I set about producing a book of her favourite recipes and her original and fiendish quiz questions! Having never done anything like this before I called on friends to help and everyone joined in enthusiastically, some cooking, testing and tasting the recipes and others helping me to compile and proof read the quiz section, including converting many picture rounds to text. Every page had to be checked and re-checked for errors, spelling mistakes, and so forth. It kept me busy for many weeks throughout lockdown and whilst a constant reminder of my loss, was also a comfort to spend time immersed in Judith’s material and to know that I was doing some good for charity.
The finished book is a weighty tome! It contains 150 rounds of Judith’s taxing and entertaining ‘Connections’ quizzes. Each round contains 12 general knowledge questions and one final answer which connects them all. The book also contains a selection of her favourite recipes as we loved to combine quizzes with delicious food. Hence the title -“Cooking up Connections – Big Quiz Book”.
I began by selling the book through friends to various networks and sold my first 1,000 books this way raising over £20,000! The great and positive feedback received encouraged me to print more. So I have had another 1,000 books produced and they are now available on Amazon and Etsy as well as direct from myself. I fulfil all orders in person to keep costs down and maximise profits for the charity and I have become very well known in my local Post Office!
The book costs £20 plus p&p and all profits go to The Eve Appeal. You can join me, and Judith, in making a difference by ordering a copy.
I hope you have great fun connecting and quizzing with family and friends and supporting a great cause at the same time! Many people have run virtual quizzes during lockdown, or plan to use it now we can all meet up again. It’s a great way to learn and to dig out all that general knowledge which is stored deep in the memory banks. It is just great fun quizzing with loved ones over a cake or a meal!
I miss Judith more than words can possibly describe. I have a sadness and emptiness in my life that will never be filled and she is also greatly missed by all her friends and family.
But I know, and we all believe, that by contributing in a small way to The Eve Appeal through this book we might make a difference to someone’s life and loved ones.
Please join me in making that difference…