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Glasses Raised For Anna Raccoon

November 4, 2017

This morning I came across the sad news that the prolific and inspirational blogger, Anna Raccoon, passed away in August.

Anna was diagnosed with a rare form of soft tissue cancer six years ago and was given a prognosis of one year to live. True to her ballsy character, she stretched that out for another five.

I first encountered Anna during the Get Steven Home campaign back in 2010. A supporter of the campaign had alerted her to our fight and she emailed me one day in October asking for a chat. We spoke for the first time the following day. She explained that earlier in her career she had worked for the Office of the Public Guardian and one of the reasons she had started her blog was her frustration at the lack of transparency in the Court of Protection. She had been looking for a case to write about for a very long time and as I had already made our battle public, she thought we might be just the case she had been looking for. I guess we met at a mutually convenient time for both of us. That day, I spoke to Anna on the phone for over three hours. I hadn’t laughed much in the previous ten months but she had me creased up with her hilarious stories of life as a court visitor. I knew I had found an angel. A thoroughly politically incorrect angel.

Anna published a piece about Steven the next day and continued to follow his story right up to the time of her death. Here is the piece she wrote the day the court judgment was handed down in June 2011:

https://annaraccoon.com/2011/06/09/unlawfully-detained/

A couple of years later I was, deservedly, on the receiving end of Anna’s ire. It was the time we were made homeless and Anna had read my blog on the matter. She phoned me and promised to fix up an interview with one of the broadsheets. Later that day, I took a phone call from the Sunday Times and they did a very long interview for a double page spread the following weekend. I didn’t really understand the rules of “an exclusive” and when a journalist from the daily Times contacted me to discuss the homelessness, I gave him an interview too. Anna went ballistic. Her hard work and that of the Sunday Times journalists had been for nothing as I had allowed them to be scooped. I felt guilty and worried that I had damaged our relationship. I needn’t have worried. After I posted a Tweet a few months later that Steven had been found a new home, one of the first people who phoned to congratulate me was Anna.

I hadn’t heard from Anna for a couple of years. I heard a rumour about this time last year that her blog had been seriously hacked and years of incredible writing had been lost. Thankfully, her army of supporters came together and managed to restore her formidable output.

Then, back in the Spring, I picked up a voicemail. The voice was breathless and broken and I couldn’t make out a word of the message. On another day I might have ignored the message but something made me return the call. It was about four hours after the original message and early evening. Anna answered the call. She hadn’t long had a shot of ketamine which she’d been prescribed to keep the pain of the spreading cancer at bay. She said that she wouldn’t be able to talk for long, or at least, make much sense for long but wanted to ask me a favour. She then told me the fantastic story that she was intending to stand at the forthcoming election. The issue of how much the NHS put aside from the annual budget (over 50%) to deal with legal claims had gotten her going and that was what she was going to fight the seat on. By now, Anna was paralysed from the chest down and would be campaigning from her bed at her beautiful Norfolk cottage that she’d returned home from France to. She found it hysterical that she was “standing” for parliament in her current horizontal position and as usual, the phone conversation was full of belly laughs. I promised to help her but such was her legion of supporters that by the time I phoned her back two days later having accomplished my mission, another friend had already sorted her problem out.

That was the last time we spoke. She continued on Twitter after the election under the brilliant title “Not Dead Yet”. She eventually passed away in August. With her family. In her beloved cottage.

I made a photo album for Steven a couple of years back entitled “People That Saved Steven Neary’s Life”. Anna was on page two (just after Justice Jackson).

I’m going to miss you, old friend.

The blogging world has a huge hole in it now.

There are lots of photos around of Anna in her last few weeks in her hospital bed that were used for her election campaign. I quite like this one that was taken  45 years earlier when she was 23:

Anna Raccoon

Rest easy Ms Raccoon.

 

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7 Comments
  1. shirley buckley permalink

    Mark Would you care to approach the CoP Cardiff Case No 11525163 MB v SS and CCGCin the open court under the Transparency Pilot on the matter of Capacity. First hearing;May 2 2017 these were all attended hearings. Would you please copy Sir James Munby on you request. You should receive all the papers except the final judgment by return. Address; Cardiff CoP 2 Park Street Cardiff CF10 1ET. Anyone else interested should do the same. and read Munby’s latest artile on the Transparency Pilot. I hope Anna is looking down and can read this. P in the case met the judge and was present in court.- a very rare event.

  2. shirley buckley permalink

    sorry return and article now spelt correctly. I am very very tired

  3. shirley buckley permalink

    Mark do you still have contact with Sam Smith. If so would you pass my comment on to him,to see if he is interested

    • Hi Shirley. I’m not sure what you’re asking me. Do you want me to request a copy of that judgment from the Court of Protection? What do you want me to do if I get it? I’ve messaged Sam on Twitter and sent him a link to your message. Mark. x

      • shirley buckley permalink

        Yes: you can request the whole lot – hearings judgments etc. You might have to say why you are interested – you can just say “capacity” If you get it just read it to start with. If you read Munby on the transparency pilot he wants to see that it is working and that people are aware of it. The one thing I have to ensure is anonimity. go on to The Transarency pilot by Sir James Munby.

  4. shirley buckley permalink

    Mark Im not even sure about anonimity – if the court is open to the public and Martin is there is person, everyone must know who he is. I am seeking legal advice

  5. shirley buckley permalink

    Mark the above comments – this is about Martin’s article 5 rights to challenge the DoL and how the LA acted illegally.

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