Family to build memorial garden for Selsey dad who died from rare cancer

A Selsey man who died within a year of being diagnosed with a rare form of cancer has been remembered as a doting dad with a 'heart of gold'.

Thursday, 8th July 2021, 5:54 pm
Updated Tuesday, 13th July 2021, 1:15 pm

Father-of-four Guy Lees, 59, died on Saturday (July 3) — one week after marrying his partner of 21 years, Nicki.

The small service was held at the couple's home in Selsey after they were given a special license, due to Guy's deteriorating health.

"He was one of these men that never fell out with anyone his whole life," Nicki said. Every person he ever met said he had a heart of gold.

Guy and Nicki, pictured with their four children
Guy and Nicki, pictured with their four children

"He adored his family. He doted on his children, he would do anything for them.

"He was very welcoming, loving, so laid back. Everyone who knew him adored him.

"He was perfect in every way, I was very lucky."

'We didn't think anything of it'

Guy had been diagnosed, in August 2020, with cancer in the Oesophagus, which had spread to his liver. Nicki said it was a rare form of the disease 'which you don't know about until it's advanced'.

"He initially had problems swallowing and a lot of indigestion but we didn't think anything of it," Nicki explained.

"We went to Holywell Bay in Cornwall for a week and he got really poorly. He lost loads of weight really quickly.

"He knew that was something wrong but thought it would be a stomach ulcer. The symptoms were like that."

Delivery driver Guy, who was born in Kenya, was one of the longest serving employees for Tesco in Chichester.

Nicki said her husband was a hard worker and she had to convince him to take time off work to get checked out by the doctors. After being taken to A&E, a small lump was discovered in Guy's stomach.

"We guessed it could be a tumour," Nicki said. "We were numb and couldn't take it in.

"We were given an appointment with an oncologist. We knew then that it had something to do with cancer.

"They said, unfortunately, that you have a tumour in your stomach and it was inoperable.

"It had spread to his liver and he was already stage four by then."

'He told me he loved me and wanted me to stay strong'

Guy responded well to the chemotherapy treatment and was put into remission.

He remained off work for seven months but was well enough to return in April.

However, on his birthday (May 4) Guy' became incoherent'.

"He wasn't understanding what I was saying to him," Nicki said. "He insisted he was fine but he didn't even know what year it was."

Guy was admitted back to hospital and, following a number of tests and scans, it was found that the cancer had returned and was now in his brain.

Due to his high enzyme levels, Guy was told on June 15 that he couldn't be offered anymore treatment and was 'told to enjoy the rest of his time with his family'.

Nicki said: "After the wedding, he spent the rest of the week in bed. He said to me on Wednesday that he loved me and wanted me to stay strong."

Fundraiser for memorial garden

Guy passed away peacefully after saying goodbye to his two daughters, aged 13 and 15, and two sons aged 12 and 23.

So that the children have 'somewhere to talk to their dad' and 'make new memories', the family now hope to raise enough money for a memorial garden.

This would be named 'Guy's corner' and based in their back garden, alongside their 'really lovely tree'

Family-friend Toni Rumsey said: "He always wanted to do up the back garden. Now we will make it into a memorial garden for his children.

"That was his wish before he passed."

Chichester businessman Nick Ford, who owns Southdown Spas in Selsey Road, is supporting the fundraising efforts by raffling off a refurbished spa for six people.

It is covered by four-months warranty with free delivery and installation. Click here to find out more.

If you would like to make a donation, please visit the fundraiser here.