Tiverton grandfather's plea to see long-lost son after cancer diagnosis

First published in Mid Devon News by

A GRANDFATHER has made a dying wish to see his long-lost son again after being diagnosed with incurable cancer.

Eric Rich has not seen his only son, Michael, since they parted on bad terms more than six years ago.

The 74-year-old retired factory worker was told he has terminal stomach cancer last week after he was taken ill at his home in Bridewell Court, Tiverton, in October.

He had been cared for at Tiverton and District Hospi-tal for the past five weeks but has since been transferred to live at Ashdowne Care Centre in the town.

His ex-wife and Michael’s mother, Heather Wills, has been to visit him every day since he was admitted and said he has become increasingly distressed at the thought of not being able to make peace with his son before he dies.

“It is so upsetting,” she said.

“Every day he asks if I have seen Michael and every day I tell him I haven’t. It’s awful to see him so desperate.”

Heather, 53, who also lives in Tiverton, lost custody of Michael when he was aged just three to Eric, after the couple split up.

Michael, who is known to have one son, Nathan, is now 36 and Eric and Heather believe he may be married with more children and living in the Exeter area.

“I believe Michael would come to see him if he knew just how ill his father was,” added Heather, who has two daughters from a subsequent marriage and is now engaged to be married again.

“It would mean everything to him to see Michael again because he knows how bad his condition is and he knows it will be the last time.”

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