Islander who campaigned for assisted dying passes away

A TERMINALLY ill Islander who called for a change in the law to allow assisted dying in Jersey passed away at the weekend aged 50.

Alain du Chemin (left) with Paul on their wedding day
Alain du Chemin (left) with Paul on their wedding day

Earlier this year, Alain du Chemin told how he planned to end his life in a Dignitas clinic in Switzerland after being diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer in 2019.

He made repeated calls for a change to the law to prevent others having to travel abroad to die, and he recently wrote an open letter to States Members urging them to ‘do the right thing’ when they consider the response from a citizens’ jury set up to examine the issue.

Although he had arranged to travel to Switzerland, Mr du Chemin died in Jersey on Saturday with his family and close friends by his side.

He leaves behind a husband, Paul Gazzard, whom he married on Valentine’s Day this year, as well as his mother, father and sister.

In a statement, Mr Gazzard said: ‘Although fortunately it was a peaceful end, Alain would have lived better in his final months knowing that he had the choice he wanted here at home, without having to plan an assisted death overseas at huge expense and in the middle of a pandemic.

‘Alain was a passionate supporter of an assisted dying law for Jersey and I hope his campaigning has brought this closer to becoming a reality.’

Former politician Philip Ozouf, who had been friends with Mr du Chemin, an optometrist, since they were seven years old, described him as an ‘unbelievable guy and a friend to many’.

He added: ‘After he was diagnosed he showed strength and generosity in everything he did.

‘One of the last things he did was to open The du Chemin Suite – a retinal-screening clinic – at the Hospital, which will help save many people’s sight.

‘Alain also recently made submissions to the panel considering assisted dying legislation, and the testimony and evidence he gave should never be forgotten.’

Sarah Wootton, chief executive of the campaign group Dignity in Dying, said that Mr du Chemin had made ‘a huge and lasting contribution to the assisted dying debate in the Island, knowing that any change would sadly come too late for him’.

She added: ‘It has been an honour to help share his powerful words with the citizen’s jury and States Members and we hope they will remain at the front of their minds when recommendations on potential law change are considered and debated later this year.’

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