Jul 20 2007 Paisley Daily Express
DEVASTATED Doctor Who star David Tennant will take time out from filming the hit sci-fi series this weekend to return home for his mother’s funeral.
The popular actor has been left heartbroken after his mum Helen McDonald, of Dykebar, Paisley, lost her brave battle with cancer on Sunday.
David, his dad Sandy and other loved ones were with charity worker Helen at the end.
Although the Doctor Who star was back in Cardiff yesterday to shoot scenes for the BBC TV show, he will return to Scotland to pay his last respects to his mum at Renfrew North Parish Church on Saturday.
Courageous Helen had been receiving chemotherapy treatment for a year and a half.
But she succumbed to cancer last Sunday afternoon after a long fight against the disease, which first struck her almost five years ago.
In her final days, Helen was cared for at Paisley’s ACCORD Hospice – the charity for which she did so much for more than 25 years.
Yesterday, her husband Sandy revealed that she had planned her own funeral.
Speaking at his home in Dykebar, the former Kirk Moderator said: “Helen very bravely planned what she wanted to be a celebration of life, not a funeral.
“She didn’t want us to be sad. The last hymn she has chosen is You Shall Go Out With Joy and she hoped everyone would clap their hands.”
Helen, who was 67, was hugely respected in Paisley for her charity work.
She worked as a volunteer for Arthritis Care, the WRVS, Samaritans and elderly care charity Contact.
But it was for her tireless work for ACCORD that she will be best remembered.
Latterly, she was chair of the Paisley Friends of ACCORD.
Together with Sandy, she was among the founder members of the charity.
“Helen would want all the other people who did so much for ACCORD to be remembered,” said Sandy. “She got so much out of life and she wanted to give so much.”
Helen was born in Londonderry in 1940 but soon moved to Glasgow.
And it was through St George’s Tron Church, in that city, that she met Sandy.
They celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary on June 11.
As well as David, Helen was a proud mum to Karen and Blair.
She is also survived by grandchildren Rachel, Matthew, Alexandra, Maisie and Hannah.
“Helen’s children and grandchildren were her pride and joy,” said Sandy.
Yesterday, Marion Ford, administrator of ACCORD Hospice, paid tribute to Helen.
She said: “Helen was a great supporter and volunteer for ACCORD Hospice over many years and also served as chairperson of the local Paisley Friends of ACCORD Hospice group.
“Along with her husband, who himself is an Honorary Vice President, she was heavily involved with the hospice from the very early years, assisting in raising the profile of ACCORD and in raising the funds needed to establish the specialist care provided.
“Coffee mornings, bag packs, gift art, auctions, stalls and a varied array of other events were ably organised and run by Helen and her fellow supporters.
“Helen will be sadly missed by all her friends at ACCORD Hospice.”
James Wardrop, chairman of ACCORD Hospice, added: “It was entirely fitting that Helen was looked after during her final illness at ACCORD, to which she and her family have given so much over so many years.”
The celebration of Helen’s life will take place at Renfrew North, on Saturday, July 21, at 11am.
It will be conducted by the Very Rev James Simpson, who is a chaplain to Her Majesty the Queen.