Family’s tribute to Doncaster grandad who walked to hospital with pain in his side and died days later

Donna Jowett lost contact with her beloved step-dad Roy Dickinson only to discover decades later that he had connections to her husband

A grieving Doncaster family have paid tribute to their grandad who headed to the hospital with a pain in his side and died a week later.

Roy Dickinson, 60, married Donna Jowett’s mum when she was young, and she quickly came to consider him her dad and “protector”. They were separated when Donna’s mum and Roy broke up, but were able to reconnect decades later when Donna found pictures of Roy and decided to search for him.

He became a grandad to Donna’s children as well as his biological grandkids via his son Mark, and the family was left “devastated” after his death on June 15. After he went to hospital with his side pain on June 6, Roy received the news he has stage four cancer, and was given just two months to live.

Sadly, Roy died just nine days later, leaving his family shocked and devastated as they’d thought they had more time.

Donna, 41, told YorkshireLive: “It’s been really hard and his grandkids are absolutely devastated – one of them is particularly struggling at school now. My kids always called him Grandad Roy after he came back into my life. He always protected me, I became very close to him and called him Dad.

“He was the Dad I never had. He was my protector and a true hero. He helped lots and lots of people – not just us. He was very well known and had lots of friends in the area – he used to DJ down at the local clubs as DJ Ice and loved photography. My kids thought he was so cool. He was very well loved by a lot of people.”

Donna’s mum got together with Roy in 1989, before they broke up shortly after while Donna was still young and she didn’t get to see him again. In 2010, Donna’s mum died, and she was sorting out her late mother’s flat when she found pictures of Roy.

Donna decided to try and track down Roy – and it turned out to be easier than she’d thought. She quickly discovered that her husband of 18 years had family members who had married family members of Roy’s. Donna was able to reach out to Roy over Facebook and re-establish their connection.

“When I found him, it was as if we’d never been separated,” Donna, from Doncaster, said.

“He was telling people I was his daughter and we became very close again instantly. He was such a storyteller – he’d turn up and keep you up all night telling these wild stories. I used to think they weren’t true but since he’s died I’ve found out they all were!”

On June 6, Roy went to hospital with his pain in his side. He was unfortunately later given the news after a scan that he had stage four cancer in his liver and lung. The two months he was given were without treatment, but Donna said Roy was too weak for treatment.

He was released to go up to Yarmouth that weekend where he had been planning to scatter his own mother’s ashes after her recent death. Donna ended up going to pick him up, and he was so ill she “knew that he could go at any moment on the car ride back”.

Roy died days later on June 15.

Donna said: “It was just all so fast, no one realised he was so ill. We’re not a rich family – I’m my husband’s carer, and we really just want to be able to give him the funeral he deserves.”

Donna’s daughter Hayley Richardson has started a GoFundMe page to raise money for Roy’s funeral, in the hope that they can give Roy “a send off fit for a king”.

To donate to the GoFundMe page for Roy’s funeral, visit the website here.


Jasmine NordenReporter
  • 05:00, 23 JUN 2022
  • UPDATED06:37, 23 JUN 2022

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