Campaign to highlight pancreatic cancer ‘liberated’ Charlie Fell

Funeral of Irish Times columnist told he was ‘inspirational’ in final lecture

Ann Fell is consoled by family and friends at the funeral of her husband, Charlie, at St Alphonsus and Columba Church in Ballybrack/Killiney. Photograph: Sara Freund

Ann Fell is consoled by family and friends at the funeral of her husband, Charlie, at St Alphonsus and Columba Church in Ballybrack/Killiney. Photograph: Sara Freund

 

Charlie Fell was lighthearted but never lightweight, his funeral Mass was told on Thursday morning.

His friend Mick Dunne recalled how “he quoted from Dickens to describe the last two and a half years since his cancer diagnosis: ‘It was the best of times,the worst of times.’ Indeed, it was just that. Anger and fear were put to one side as Charlie selflessly set out improving the level of public awareness of pancreatic cancer.”

A former Irish Times columnist, lecturer, investment advisor and strategist, Charlie Fell (46) died on Monday in Dublin’s Blackrock hospice.

In 2003, having worked in senior roles at Ulster Bank for 14 years, he embarked “on a solo career . . . as the complete expert”. He “loved the platform” allowed by his Serious Money weekly column in The Irish Times.

Mr Dunne said Charlie’s family “would like to thank the management at The Irish Times, and in particular (Deputy Business Editor) Dominic Coyle and (Health Editor) Joyce Hickey, for giving him the opportunity to tell the world exactly how he was in his own inimitable style, but especially for their support during Charlie’s illness. Giving Charlie the opportunity to highlight the plight of pancreatic cancer sufferers . . . liberated him from focusing on his own illness.”

Thanked too was Evelyn O’Rourke for assisting with Charlie’s interview on RTÉ Radio’s Seán O’Rourke programme last month. And the decency with which he was treated by Cove Stone Asset Management, who he worked for since 2011, “ was really appreciated by Charlie”.

His family also thanked Cormac McGinley of the Smurfit Business School, “not just for his long-term friendship with Charlie and for his coming home from Canada to be here today, but for championing Charlie’s last lecture a week ago.”

Mr Dunne said it was “so inspirational to see Charlie advocating so courageously for others in what he knew were his final days”. The lecture was delivered as a double act with Charlie’s brother John, “and what a double act”!

Mr Dunne recalled that “Charlie had his demons and his struggles over the years too. They may have got the better of him were it not for the great fortune of his teaming up with and eventually marrying his wife Ann Casey. Knowing Charlie, he probably told me more often than he told you Ann how much he loved you and cared for you.”

He concluded “somewhere along Charlie’s final route he really did find an inner calm, faith, peace, something that should be of comfort to all who knew and loved him.”

Chief mourners were Charlie Fell’s wife Ann, mother Gemma, brother John, father Frank and his wife Pauline.

Among the large attendance were Austin Huges of KBC bank, RTÉ Agriculture and Enviromnment Correspondent George Lee, former Minister for Education Mary Hanafin, and Dominic Coyle and Joyce Hickey of The Irish Times.