Exmouth woman receives surprise gift from Sir Cliff!

AN EXMOUTH woman who suffers from terminal cancer has received a surprise gift from her lifelong music hero – Sir Cliff Richard.

AN EXMOUTH woman who suffers from terminal cancer has received a surprise gift from her lifelong music hero - Sir Cliff Richard.

Forty-five-year-old Maxine Taylor has just months to live after medical chiefs at Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital discovered a rare cancerous tumour, which was first removed 15 months ago, had returned.

The Cliff fan, who lives at Knappe Cross Care Centre, Brixington Lane, said the parcel, which she received last Thursday, had boosted her spirits.

She added: "I have loved him ever since I was a child. I was shocked and thrilled.

"To cheer myself up and get through the pain of the illness, people keep telling me to listen to Cliff's music and think of him."

The present consisted of a CD compilation, LP, gold badge, and signed autograph which read: 'To Maxine, with love from Sir Cliff Richard.'

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The initial tumour, which was attached to one of her kidneys, was described as being 'the size of a water melon'. Both the cancer and affected kidney were removed in an operation last year.

It was so large when taken from her body, it had to be carried out of the operating theatre in a large bucket.

After the operation her parents, John, 75, and Connie Taylor, 71, of Morton Crescent, Exmouth, thought her problems were over.

But Maxine, who has suffered from learning difficulties and has been partially-sighted since birth, developed pains in the side of her body last month.

She was taken to RD&E, where John and Connie were told the cancer had returned and had spread to the liver.

Her parents were informed that nothing more could be done for their daughter and her condition would be terminal. They were told her death would be 'sooner rather than later'.

Maxine, after staying in hospital for four weeks, was moved to Knappe Cross Care Centre on Monday, June 8.

Her dad said it was believed the present from Sir Cliff was arranged thanks to staff at the FORCE cancer unit in the RD&E.

"She was introduced and got talking to someone in her ward who said she worked in the music industry for 25 years and had contacts," he explained.

"It then emerged she would try to get Sir Cliff to make contact with Maxine."

John, who started to cry, added: "We also think that a number of people have tried to get in touch with him on her behalf.

"All of a sudden, we came home one day and there was a parcel. We took it to her - she opened it and was elated."

Maxine, who has been given radiotherapy since being told her condition was untreatable, has a brother, Stuart, 50, from Loughborough, and sister, Julie Brooks, 52, who also lives in Exmouth.

Connie said her daughter had deteriorated in the last two weeks which had entailed her losing weight - dropping from eight to seven stone.

John said: "It is almost as though there have been three people in our marriage - me my wife and Maxine and, as a result, you don't consider the time when she's not going to be here.