Dan Oliver, who worked on Style Challenge at Pebble Mill in the 1990s and is included in the photo above, sadly died last month. Below is the message he posted on Facebook on Christmas Eve to his friends, telling them of his illness. Dan’s friends suggested that this was the most suitable message to post up about his death. Dan’s funeral was held last week, and was attended by Nick Harris and Simon Lupton.
December 24th, 2015
Weird but important email to write. I sincerely hope that all of you are about to have a wonderful Christmas with the people who matter to you Some of you I haven’t spoken to in weeks, some in many, many years -I’m a Facebook lurker, more prone to seeing what others are doing, than posting myself- but I need to get this said……
In September 2014 I was diagnosed with terminal kidney cancer. I had hoped to tell everyone in early 2015, when I wanted to announce that I was doing a marathon fuck-cancer charity swim down the river Dart. But then some drug-induced hepatitis got in the way. Then it was the summer, and two lots of surgery to deal with the collapse of my spine, and the autumn, and emergency radio therapy to deal with what had grown back. Blah-de-fucking blah, and on it goes……. Turns out it’s in my spine, my lungs, throughout my lymph system. Originally , we were told I could expect around three years. maybe more, because most people who present with my symptoms tend to be much less fit, and much older.
Unfortunately, things have moved much faster than that, and I was told in mid November to think about living a few more weeks. It seems that I’ll be lucky enough to be around for Christmas, but have little idea beyond that. So, what do you do in a situation like this? Well, it turns out that I seem to want people to know. Not just you, but the friends we had who I kind of lost track of along the way. So that’s the lovely GFL people, with whom I had some of my most joyous working experiences ever. It’s the Scene One crowd. It’s the people I got sober with. Or it’s people from BBC Birmingham.. I want people to know for two reasons. The first is a desire for a packed, rafter raising funeral (details to be followed, posted by a loved one on Facebook). The second is because…well I just do. I’m self-centred and egotistical enough for this not to pass without telling people.
And now the really important stuff. I need to say that amongst all this shit I regard myself as extraordinarily lucky. In marrying Clementina I became the most happily married man I’ve ever met. If that’s boastful, sue me; I’m dying. I also have four mad, extraordinary wonderful children We do something fun every day. I have a fantastic extended family and a circle of friends that are utterly indistinguishable from family. I was told by a mate not long ago that he thought we were put here to love and be loved. I believe that, and I believe it’s pretty much mission accomplished. I regard myself as lucky, privileged So…if you could spread the word….. visits are a bit of a no-no, because I sleep an awful lot of the day, and get tired very quickly. Since I spend hours looking at my bedroom ceiling, letters and messages are very gratefully received, though , (forgive the fact that I’ll porbably be rubbish at responding.) Here endeth my missive. Not the greatest festive message, I appreciate, but one I rather needed to send. I wish you all the happiest, warmest Christmas with your loved ones, and hope to hear from you soon.
With love from Dan x
DAN OLIVER 30th July 1973 – 23rd January 2016
The following messages were left on the Pebble Mill Facebook page:
Becky Rogers: ‘We worked together on Telly Addicts and Telly Years and sat opposite each other. I remember laughing every day and him telling me my winter clothes were much better than what I wore in summer. Always the man from Style Challenge!!’
Melissa Feather: ‘Such a lovely person xx always jolly, so happy and would do anything xx very very happy memories of working with him on Style challenge’
Lesley Weaver: ‘I don’t think I had the privilege of knowing Dan personally as I didn’t work on those programmes, but I do recognise his face. My heart goes out to Clementina and their children. Having lost my own husband Chris Weaver to kidney cancer 6 months ago it’s painful to hear of another terrible loss to kidney cancer, Dan’s words echo in my heart and bring tears to my eyes!’
Annabel Walker: ‘I had the pleasure of working with Dan on two productions, 10yrs apart… He hadn’t changed at all. When the shit was hitting the fan Dan’s mantra was “Kill ’em, fuck ’em, eat ’em… In that order…” He was a fighter, and a lovely man full of fun.’