Sunday 19 January 2020

Heartbreak at the death of Anthony

Greystones man dies just months after his beloved daughter, Jade

The late Anthony McCann with his daughter Jade, who passed away in October
The late Anthony McCann with his daughter Jade, who passed away in October

Mary Fogarty

Greystones man Anthony McCann passed away last week, just over two months after the death of his beloved daughter Jade.

The father and daughter were diagnosed with cancer within weeks of each other, and the pair took on their two-year fight together.

Jade (24) passed away at Blackrock Hospice on the morning of October 24. Anthony died peacefully at home in Redford Park on Thursday night (2nd), surrounded by his loving family. He is survived by his wife Kim, son Eoin, his mother Joan, brothers, relatives and a large circle of friends.

A native of Monkstown Farm in Dun Laoghaire, Tony was a devoted Tottenham Hotspurs fan, as well as a fan of local League of Ireland side Bray Wanderers. His love of sport and outdoor pursuits extended to hill-walking and boxing, and over the years Tony coached with Monkstown Boxing Club, Ballybrack Boxing Club and Bray Boxing Club.

A spokesman for Ballybrack Boxing Club said that all the members and coaches are thinking of Kim, Eoin and the entire family.

'Anto was a genuine good man and excellent tactician of the boxing game,' he said.

He was formerly a baker at Tesco in Greystones, where staff and customers alike were very fond of him. He later worked in the pharmaceutical industry.

Above all, Anthony was a family man. His wife Kim was his best friend, and the two of them raised their children in a most happy and loving household. The whole family shared a deep love of music, with both Eoin and Jade becoming accomplished musicians.

He was a man with a wonderful sense of humour and fun, and who enjoyed to head out around the roads of Wicklow and beyond on his Vespa.

'He was a most extraordinary man,' said former Mayor of Greystones Kathleen Kelleher, who knew Tony for 20 years. 'He really believed in young people. He was selfless, and did so much for others,' he said.

She said that he initially went to Greystones Cancer Support for help, but ended up bringing so much to the organisation, leaving the lasting legacy of the allotment.

'He was very much a part of the men's group, and so supportive of the other men,' said Kathleen. 'He was a leading figure. He would come to us with ideas.'

He was a trailblazer with the allotment, which was founded in Newtownmountkennedy and moved to Kilcoole, and produced a wealth of vegetables, as well as therapeutic benefits and friendships for members.

'Our group will be forever in his debt,' said Kathleen. 'He came to our group ostensibly for help, but actually he helped us more than we helped him. He was a wonderful inspiration and he will forever be in our hearts.'

She said that the lesson Tony leaves is that 'time is short, make the most of it. Don't waste it, and do your best every day to help people'.

Speaking to the Bray People in December, Tony said that he believed Jade was still with him, encouraging him to move forward.

'You take from the person that's gone, what they gave you and what they left behind. It would be easy to sit moping or go to the pub, getting yourself down, letting the demons in. You let them in and you're gone. That person wouldn't want you doing that,' he said.

The battle shared by Jade and Tony will be explored in a forthcoming documentary made by actor John Connors and the production company Cluster Fox. The film was two years in the making, and Tony recalled having great fun with his daughter and the team during film-making.

It is due to be screened at the Dublin Film Festival in February.

In a statement, Cluster Fox said that Jade and Anthony had become like family to the team while making the documentary about their lives.

'Anthony was a poet warrior that fought a brave fight until the end,' they said. 'He and his daughter are an inspiration to everybody that was lucky enough to get to know them.

'Needless to say that over the course of two years, we got to know this beautiful human and will miss him dearly. He and his family are a source of endless sunshine on this most cloudy of days.'

Bray People