Dame Esther Rantzen, 83, quits Childline after 37 years
Dame Esther Rantzen, 83, quits Childline after 37 years having been diagnosed with stage four lung cancer
Dame Esther Rantzen has quit Childline after working at the charity for 37 years having been diagnosed with stage four lung cancer.
The 83-year-old has stepped back as president of the counselling service, having stepped into the role in 2018, due to her ongoing health issues.
She has handed the reigns over to her daughter Rebecca Wilcox, 43, who will also start training to become a counsellor for the charity as well.
The former That’s Life! presenter helped set up Childline in 1986, a charity which offers support for young people up until the age of 19. It became part of The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) in 2006.
Dame Esther was diagnosed with lung cancer in January but only revealed her diagnosis in May, simply saying it had ‘since spread’.
Dame Esther Rantzen has quit Childline after working at the charity for 37 years after being diagnosed with stage four lung cancer
The mother-of-three and grandmother-of-five said at the time she had decided to announce the news because she found ‘it difficult to skulk around various hospitals wearing an unconvincing disguise.’
Talking about her decision to step down, Dame Esther told The Express: ‘ChildLine has always had a very special place in my heart ever since we launched in 1986.
‘But I have been concerned I have not been able recently to listen to children, meet staff and volunteers and spread awareness of our crucial lifeline the way I used to, due to my own health issues.
‘Rebecca and I both jumped at the idea, suggested by the NSPCC, that she should take on the role because she has known, respected and cared about ChildLine almost all her life.
‘She is just as committed to child protection as her father and I have always been.
‘She is a terrific mother herself and understands the issues facing children today. And of course, she will take with her my best wishes to every team she meets and works with.’
Dame Esther became a household name as she blazed a path for female broadcasters, most famously as presenter of That’s Life! from 1973 to 1994.
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