Family's tribute to their 'rock' - Ipswich sailing cancer campaigner Olle dies aged 64
- Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown
The family of an Ipswich grandfather who sailed around Britain while having bowel cancer have said they have lost their "rock".
Olle Nash returned home from the last leg of his circumnavigation to raise money for Macmillan in September and was taken into St Elizabeth Hospice in October.
The 64-year-old spent 13 days there before passing away peacefully on November 2.
His son-in-law James Kindred said: "He has been the family's rock over the last few years, he was always the go-to for support and was the one to look after the family.
"He was one of the friendliest, most positive people I know. When I first met him, my wife Emma made me quite nervous saying he was over 6ft, ex-Army and I still remember he was the friendliest most welcoming guy."
Mr Kindred added that Mr Nash was "optimistic" when going into the hospice that it would help him "deal with the pain".
"He went downhill fairly quickly," he added. "We absolutely want to champion the work the hospice does and it's funded entirely by donations. It takes a lot, £4,000, per day, to look after someone in there.
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"The one thing Olle would want is for us to raise awareness that it is going to become part of your life at some point."
Mr Nash's other fundraising work included raising over £85,000 for the Ipswich hospice by doing a bike ride across Germany, where he served in the Army, with his daughter Emma and son-in-law John.
Mr Nash originally took on his epic sailing journey, which raised over £15,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support, in May 2021 in memory of his daughter Toni.
She lost her battle with pancreatic cancer in 2017 when she was 44 and was supported by Macmillan nurses through the final months of her life.
"The Macmillan information manager at Ipswich Hospital was just so lovely, every time myself or my other daughters walked in she was there with open arms and a big cuddle," Mr Nash said in May.
“I can’t praise the people there highly enough – we got to know them very well, to the point they became like an extended family, so I was already aware of the services available once I was diagnosed."
He set sail in May and went from the River Orwell to Lowestoft, Whitby, Arbroath and through to Inverness, leaving his ship the Renegade in Rhu Marina.
Mr Nash then returned to have radiotherapy during early July at Ipswich Hospital.
He sailed on his last coastal trip from Scotland in August after traversing the Irish Sea, and stopping at the Isle of Man and Wales before pulling into Fox's Marina on September 6.
“It’s been a physically punishing challenge for me, as someone undergoing active treatment for bowel cancer, but I’m so grateful that with the right support and medical advice I’ve been able to enjoy this incredible adventure," Mr Nash said in September.
“That’s not to say I haven’t felt unwell at points - I have felt the side effects of my recent radiotherapy treatment quite keenly in the past few weeks - but the warm welcome we’ve received in harbour towns and villages across the UK, and the knowledge that every penny raised will help to make life that bit easier for people with cancer, has kept me focussed.
"I have to single out my stoic crewmates who have remained determined through the thick fog and violent winds that made our passage treacherous at points, and have trusted me to direct them from my bunk when I’ve not felt well enough to move. Their good humour has kept my spirits up throughout."
Melanie Humphreys, relationship fundraising manager at Macmillan Cancer Support said: “It's not every day that you meet someone as extraordinary as Olle. His positivity was infectious and his generosity knew no bounds.
“He had known the tragedy of losing a child to cancer, and knew that his own life would be cut short by cancer too. And yet he laughed in its face, and commandeered his aptly-named sailing yacht Renegade to circumnavigate the UK for charity.
“Sending all our love to the Nash family, and Olle's many friends and crewmates.”
No date for Mr Nash's funeral has been announced.
He leaves behind his wife Lesley Nash, his two daughters Emma Kindred and Tara Coates, and three grandchildren.