Denise Welch opens up about her mum’s 20 year cancer battle and ‘beautiful’ death

Denise Welch

by Lucy Waterlow |
Published on

Coronation Street star and Loose Women presenter Denise Welch has spoken about the heartbreaking moment her mum died of cancer

In a moving video interview for Cancer Research UK, the actress becomes tearful as she recalls how her beloved mum Annie passed away when surrounded by her family in 2012.

Denise said: "She just went to sleep and I remember it was very peaceful. She kept coming round and my sister was there and the kids were all there and we all hugged her.

"She took her final breath and she was gone. It was really quite beautiful in a way, which might sound like a ridiculous thing to say, but it was such a close thing we were all together."

Denise Welch
Denise said she misses her mum Annie every day(credit: Cancer Research UK) ©(credit: Cancer Research UK

Denise, 59, said she was lucky to have her mum in her life for so long, as Annie was first diagnosed with mouth cancer in 1991 and told she could have just 12 months to live.

The mother-of-two said it was thanks to Cancer Research UK that Annie survived much longer than expected and lived to see her five grandchildren grow up.

Denise said her two sons were incredible close to their grandmother and her eldest Matty, who fronts the band the 1975, has had her name tattooed on his chest so he carried her everywhere he goes.

Annie's initial treatment involved surgery for 13 hours to remove tumours, which kept the cancer at bay for ten years.

In 2001 however, she received a second mouth cancer diagnosis when her doctors found new tumours at a regular check-up.

**WATCH: Denise Welch opens up about losing her mum to cancer


Denise said Annie, who worked as a psychiatric nurse, was 'glamorous to the very end' and 'the strongest woman' as she lived with cancer for so long.

She added: "The hardest thing about losing mum is she's not at the end of the phone. She was always my go-to person and I miss her every day. I was lucky to have the mum I did."

Denise said it was her mum who helped her overcome her problems with alcohol.

She was also there when Denise divorced her first husband David Easter in 1988 and when her second marriage to actor Tim Healy, the father of her sons Matty and Louis, ended after 24 years together.

She added that it meant a "huge amount" that Annie lived long enough to see her find happiness again with her third husband, Lincoln Townley, 44.

Denise Welch
The actress said she wanted to share her story to 'give something back'(credit: Cancer Research UK) ©(credit: Cancer Research UK

"I’m so happy that when she passed she knew we were all OK. Doctors, scientists and research gave us that time and for that I'm eternally grateful," she said.

Denise decided to share her story because she wanted to "give something back".

Denise Welch
Denise said she was glad her mum lived to see her find happiness again with her third husband Lincoln Townley (credit: Getty) ©(credit: Getty)

She's calling on people to opt in to hear from Cancer Research UK about its life-saving work, following its decision to only contact supporters who have given their permission for the charity to do so from 1 July 2017.

To opt in to hear about all the work Cancer Research UK is doing, its research progress, appeals and ways people can support, visit

For further information about Cancer Research UK's work or to find out how to support the charity, please call 0300 123 1022 or visit

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