I have had some responses following the column that I wrote about the controversial subject of assisted dying.

Janet Pearce, who was featured in my earlier column about unmarried mothers, wrote to me to say: “As a retired nurse who has witnessed many deaths in different settings and from different causes, yes people should have the right to choose the way they want to die. The important approach is honesty… My husband died in pain and being given analgesia by intramuscular injections… He refused the injections because he could not bear the extra pain… He continually asked the doctor to euthanise him, but of course that was not allowed. We have the technology, it is 2024, let’s sort it out!”

Darlington and Stockton Times: Former nurse Janet Pearce’s husband Mike who died in pain three and half years ago. She believes

That must have been such a difficult time for Janet, and even more so for her poor husband Mike, who was not given any choice except to continue to suffer in agony until he passed away. Why do people have to endure that kind of trauma when the end is close? We have the capacity to make it more peaceful and less harrowing for both the patient and the loved ones who have to stand helplessly by.

Regular reader Clare Proctor said: “It's an emotive subject and you have handled it well. I absolutely agree with Esther Rantzen - and you. We are accused of being barbaric if we allow animals to suffer and die in agony, but apparently that is exactly what we should do to our beloved humans. Where assisted dying is already legal, statistics show that numbers are not high and there is no proof of the system being abused. Religious objections are often quoted. Religious belief is and should always be a personal choice and not inflicted upon those of us who do not believe. The only thing any of us can really claim as our own is our body, and we should be able to say how we want to meet our end… governments should not be making that decision for anyone.”

Clare’s words about religion and personal choice brought to mind a message I received recently from one reader who was not happy with some of the wording in my column concerning the 18th Century Methodist preacher Joseph Pilmoor, who was born out of wedlock. It was a very long message from a born-again Christian which I have had to edit down due to lack of space.

It reads: “Wesley said: ‘Do no harm, do good and love God’. These are not a means to salvation but the fruit of it. Ephesians 2 v 10 says: ‘For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.’ ”

It continues: “But this is addressed to believers, people who are already saved… Not all will be saved however as not all will accept His free gift of salvation. It is not just ‘fallen’ women who need to be saved - you mention the word ‘converted’ which conveys a wrong understanding. Everyone needs the salvation which God offers through Jesus… Jesus said that you must be born again to enter the kingdom of heaven (John 3 v 3). This means that the Holy Spirit dwells in you and begins to work out the fruit of the Holy Spirit in your life. See Galatians 5 v 22-23: 'The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.'”

Is the reader here implying that lack of ‘self-control’ is why we get babies born out of wedlock? She adds, quoting my column: “I truly doubt that the attitude was that it was ‘all the woman’s fault and that many prayers were said to help her tighten up her loose morals’ and that ‘they ever felt the need to pray for the man involved…’. As born-again believers, this is never the attitude that Christians take or would have taken because we know that: (Romans 3 23) ‘For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.’" She does say a lot more in the hope of educating me and encouraging me down the path to ‘salvation’, and ends with: “I hope this helps clarify some misconceptions in your article.”

Well, over to you dear readers. Does it?

  • Do you have memories to share or ideas for this column? Contact me via my webpage at countrymansdaughter.com, or email dst@nne.co.uk.