A Place in the Suns Jonnie Irwin on speaking to family after death
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A Place in the Sun star Jonnie Irwin had to give up his dream presenting job after being diagnosed with terminal cancer, but he’s determined that he will leave a legacy behind. The former Channel 4 presenter announced he will still “speak to his wife and children” beyond the grave, despite being told he has just months to live.
The 49-year-old previously told of his sorrow that his three young sons “are going to grow up not knowing their dad”, saying the prospect broke his heart.
He also admitted the anguish he would feel if his beloved wife Jessica decided to remarry after he dies.
However, he has been able to console himself with the thought of building a “digital legacy” which can never be deleted, so that his friends and family can vividly remember him in the years that follow.
Sharing his thoughts on BBC One’s Morning Live, he mused: “It’s amazing to think that I could speak to my wife and children after I pass away.
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Citing a “lifetime of memories” in the form of photo and video footage, he continued: “My diagnosis has taken a lot from me, but it’s given me the ability to prepare.”
James Norris, the founder of digital will website MyWishes, appeared on the same show to discuss how he can make his plans a reality.
His website allows the owners of social media accounts to customise the way their profiles will appear after their deaths.
Another website, Biscuit Tin, has also emerged, allowing family members to store visual and verbal memories of their deceased loved ones – including memorabilia as diverse as favourite recipes.
Although social media sites such as Facebook already allow the option for a profile to be kept in a memorialised form following someone’s death, websites like MyWishes and Biscuit Tin make the process easier and more involved.
Jonnie suggested that others in a similar position to him should “take action” sooner rather than later.
He vowed he would “take every opportunity I have to do just that for those that I love”.
Jonnie may have built more memories than most, as some of his travels have been immortalised through episodes of A Place in the Sun.
He has also vowed to build memories with his family as much as possible, recently posting Instagram snaps of himself with his wife and children enjoying downtime in the Lake District.
Jonnie is determined that he will introduce son Rex, three, and two-year-old twins Rafa and Cormac, to the countryside for as long as he can.
He also told Hello! magazine that he doesn’t see himself as a “dying” man, preferring to refer to himself as someone who is “living with cancer”.
His positive attitude is helping him through and, although he wasn’t in the mood for climbing as the family visited Windermere, he admitted that the “break in the fresh air” was exactly what he needed.
“How I’d love to be up on those fells,” he swooned, “but staying low around the waterfalls with the family was wonderful in a different way. #thelakes.”
Lake Windermere is located in the Cumbria National Park, while the village of Windermere – made famous by kids’ novellist Beatrix Potter – is just a mile and a half away.
Travelling has always been a major part of his life with Jessica, with the presenter persuading her to quit her job and explore the world with him not long after they met and fell for each other.
The pair are believed to be just as much in love as ever to this day, and Jonnie now has fresh hope in the form of keeping his memories alive after his death via the internet.
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