Tommy's daughter speaks out

Vicky Cooper was 29 when her father passed away on stage. She reveals how Tommy Cooper dealt with his illness, and how that's informed her own vastly different attitude to looking after her health.

Vicky says:

"When it comes to health I’m pleased to say I’m the complete opposite of my father.  I don’t drink, I gave up smoking years ago and I eat healthily. And while my dad never made time to see his doctor and self medicated with all sorts of drops up his nose or in his ears or by taking random tablets he’d picked up at the chemist, I’ll see my GP if I think something’s wrong.

He had his life snatched away from him but it could have been avoided

"That’s how I found out I have high blood pressure, because I saw my GP about all the headaches I was getting.  I was devastated at first because I thought I looked after myself well. But I know that if you have a history of strokes or heart attacks in the family, you have to be very careful about these things. It’s very likely my dad had high blood pressure too but it went undiagnosed because he never saw his GP.

"Showbusiness took its toll on him. His main priority was always his audience, and everything else – including his health – came second.

"He had lots of warning signs with strange aches and pains in his legs, chest pains, and lots of headaches. But he never went to the doctor. He always said ‘after this rehearsal’ or ‘after I’ve learnt this script’. But there was always something else.

"I was forever nagging him. I used to say ‘dad, if you don’t stop drinking and smoking and start going to the doctor you are going to drop down dead’. And, of course, he did.

"He was still young when he died. He could have been around for so many more years making people laugh and bringing joy to everyone including his family - including me.

"He had his life snatched away from him but it could have been avoided. My advice now is always that you shouldn’t delay. Don’t keep making excuses. If you think something might be wrong, get yourself checked. You’re not being a nuisance.

"We’re all living longer now, and with all the advances in medicine and technology it seems silly not to take advantage so you can live an active, healthy life for as long as possible.

"If you know you should be taking medication then take it, and prevent your life being snatched away too."

If you're worried about your health or are having problems taking your medication regularly, call our heart nurses on 0300 333 1 333 for help and advice.