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Cancer diagnosis stopped their Broads voyage – now widower embarks alone

PUBLISHED: 08:46 29 September 2014 | UPDATED: 08:46 29 September 2014

Widower John Wonfor is cruising on the Broads in memory of his wife Carol who lost her battle with cancer two years ago.
 
They lived in Yorkshire but visited the Broads once and vowed to return together.

Picture: James Bass

Widower John Wonfor is cruising on the Broads in memory of his wife Carol who lost her battle with cancer two years ago. They lived in Yorkshire but visited the Broads once and vowed to return together. Picture: James Bass

Archant Norfolk © 2014

It is a place where they vowed to return together, but tragically ran out of time.

Carol Wonfor died of bowel cancer aged just 62. Her husband John is sailing the Broads in her memory. Carol Wonfor died of bowel cancer aged just 62. Her husband John is sailing the Broads in her memory.

John and Carol Wonfor fell in love with the Broads after visiting just once.

But Mrs Wonfor’s cancer battle meant the couple never got the chance to journey again from their home in Selby, Yorkshire to the Broads. Now widower Mr Wonfor, 68, is sailing the length and breadth of the region’s majestic waterways alone for his beloved wife, a medical receptionist, who he was with for 44 years.

“Carol was like no one you have ever met in your life. She was a one-off,” the retired glazer said.

“She was in her glory on the Broads, she loved it. But we never went back. We were going to but then she got diagnosed and it was just chemotherapy for 18 months.”

So Mr Wonfor is sailing what he is calling his ‘tour de Broads’ for Carol, in an electric boat to raise cash for cancer charity Macmillan which supported him and his wife throughout their ordeal.

“I was with Carol for a long time and when she was diagnosed I couldn’t handle it,” the grandfather said.

“Every time I thought about it I fell apart. But I was so well supported by Macmillan. This country could not go on without them as far as I am concerned. I don’t know what I would have done without their support.”

Starting his voyage at Wroxham and on to Horning, Mr Wonfor said his journey will be led by local knowledge of the area and could take up to a month to complete.

Last year he sailed Listen, a 16ft catamaran, around the north, south, east and west of the country for the same cause.

The boats are named to encourage medics to take notice of patients’ worries after he says his wife, a doctor’s receptionist, repeatedly told doctors that stomach pains they wrote off as irritable bowel syndrome and thyroid problems were cancer.

Already Mr Wonfor has raised more than £2,500, but he wants to go further.

To sponsor him and support Macmillan visit www.macmillan.tributefunds.com/carolwonfor

Do you have a story about the Broads? Email rosa.mcmahon@archant.co.uk

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