THE four-time Mayor of Leominster who put a price on his life when diagnosed with a one-in-a-million cancer has died.
Roger Hunt is the second loss to Herefordshire Council this week after the death of Councillor Peter Watts.
Councillor Hunt, one of the county’s longest serving local politicians, died at St Michael’s Hospice on Wednesday, aged 68.
In 2007, Roger put a price on his life to secure a six-figure loan that covered the cost of pioneering cancer treatment in the USA – a cost that the NHS would not meet.
He had been diagnosed with a cancer called a chordoma at the base of his spine, so rare that figures from the USA put the chances of it occurring at one in a million.
In the UK, Roger faced major organ removal and severe disability if he survived.
At the time of diagnosis, Roger was fighting a successful campaign for the council’s Leominster South seat.
Armed with his own records, Roger successfully pitched his case for pioneering proton therapy to one of its leading centres, Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
There, he went through 39 sessions of treatment that bought him eight more years of life to fight for the awareness of his condition and address the lack of treatment options in the UK.
Though dogged by a gradual decline in health and mobility, Roger continued with his council work up until recent weeks.
As well as being a ward councillor on the Tory group he was the vice chairman of the regulatory, planning and overview & scrutiny committees.
He also sat on the Marches Housing committee.
Roger moved to Leominster from Leicester in 1967 and quickly fell in love with the town and its people.
He would speak of feeling “ very honoured” to serve Leominster on both its town council and as ward member on Herefordshire Council.
Prominent in his support for local businesses, charities and services, Roger counted one of his proudest achievements as helping establish the campaign group that raised £250k towards a new swimming pool for Leominster in 2006.
A year later he was made an honorary townsman ahead of his cancer being confirmed.
For the past three years, Roger had been under the care of St Michaels Hospice and was full of admiration and praise for the staff and their exceptional levels of care.
His family - wife Hilary, three children and five grandchildren - are asking for donations to the hospice and its renovation project in his memory.
Funeral arrangements are being handled by Handley and Hawcutt with the service planned for The Priory Church, Leominster, on May 23.