Radio review: Emotional reflection on losing a mother

Nuala McCann

Health Check BBC World Service

5 Live Drive

RTÉ Gold

There are some things that sound so simple but make a world of difference.

Lobke Marsden, a play specialist at St James University Hospital in Leeds, paints radiotherapy masks for children.

The masks are used to keep children still during their treatment – when they see the stark, unpainted version, they might say: “I don't want one of those,” but take out the paints, choose a superhero and all that changes and they get quite excited, said Lobke.

From their favourite superhero to a treasured teddy, all things are possible – this woman is gifted.

“ I feel like I'm a superhero ... I am actually batman,” said a little boy.

It is a true labour of love – Lobke has painted 39 so far and has even managed a Grinch.

Is it worth the effort?

Yes, says one father whose son is getting treatment.

“Things like this make the day to day grim reality so much more bearable,” he adds.

The 5Live Drive interview featuring Republic of Ireland and Burnley footballer Jonathan Walters was very emotional.

He talked frankly to presenter Tony Livesey about the death of his mother.

Perhaps it was because the two men shared a similar experience – Walters' mother died when he was 11 and Livesey's mother died when he was 13. There was a true sense of a shared understanding.

When his father told him, said Walters, he took himself off and cried for six or seven hours.

Then he locked it away and threw away the key.

“I put up a wall so that no-one knows you,” he said.

He was a tough boy, a sporty boy and he just “got on with it”.

“I was very upset but I don't think I ever grieved lock that part of you away.”

This was a powerful interview on the part of both men – it was a conversation that took immense courage and was incredibly moving.

Finally, if you're reading this and it's after 11am, put on RTÉ Gold for the top 100 Irish songs of all time – for the day that's in it... Happy St Patrick's Day.

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