Former England captain Ray Illingworth wants the right to end his own life

Former England cricket captain Ray Illingworth is battling cancer and wants the right to end his own life.

Former England cricket captain Ray Illingworth

The 89-year-old, who led England to a famous win in the 1970/71 Ashes, said he supports changes to the law on assisted dying after seeing his wife Shirely suffer with cancer during the final year of her life.

She died in March this year and Mr Illingworth is currently undergoing radiotherapy for esophageal cancer.

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“No one should have to go through what my wife went through in the last 12 months of her life. It was no life,” he told the Yorkshire Post.

“She moved from hospital to hospital and then to a nursing home, and was just in pain.

“If people have witnessed it for themselves, and thousands and thousands of people have, I think they would agree.

“I think the general feeling around the country is that many more people are now in favour of it. I really think you should have the right to.”

Mr Illingworth said people who are terminally ill and suffering with pain should be able to end their own lives, with consent and support from trained medical professionals.

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“I’m not really into starting a campaign around it, I'm not that type of person. But if anybody asks me what I think about it, I will certainly tell them,” he said.

Assisted dying is illegal, under the Suicide Act 1961, and anyone who is found to have helped someone end their life can be jailed for up to 14 years.

But the Assisted Dying Bill, which states that terminally ill people should be allowed to take life-ending drugs with the consent of two medical practitioners and The High Court, is currently being considered by the House of Lords.

It received an unopposed second reading in the Lords in October and will undergo further scrutiny at a later date.

Earlier this month, politicians in Jersey approved the principle of legalising assisted dying on the island and if the proposals are backed during a debate next year, a draft law could be discussed and voted on in 2023.

Assisted dying is currently legal in several US states, including California, Colorado and Hawaii, and voluntary euthanasia, which sees a doctor administer life ending drugs to a consenting patient, is legal in Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands.

Mr Illingworth, who lives in Farsley, Leeds, played 787 first-class games for England, Yorkshire and Leicestershire during an illustrious career, scoring 24,134 runs and taking 2,072 wickets.