Helen’s Big Heart
by Sam Beamish | Cornwall Live | May 13, 2021
A close friend of the late Helen McCrory has told how the star supported her family through her daughter’s illness and death. Fiona Nash said the actor would do “anything for anyone” and was a “very kind and generous person”.
Fiona’s daughter Torie Benson died 10 years ago at age 30 due to cervical cancer.
To mark the anniversary of her death and raise money for the charity that supported her, Fiona’s 18-year-old son Toby Benson ran from Land’s End to The Lizard and back on Tuesday (May 11).
So far he has raised £15,500 for Marie Curie and is being backed by McCrory’s husband, actor Damian Lewis.
Helen McCrory, who has died of cancer aged 52, made her name as a subtle and intelligent stage performer, and later bucked the trend that consigns actresses to oblivion in middle age, becoming one of Britain’s most sought-after television stars in her 40s.
In the first decade of the new millennium she was hailed as one of the most promising presences in British theatre. Writing in the Telegraph in 2002, Jasper Rees placed her in the tradition of Judi Dench, Zoë Wanamaker and Imelda Staunton as “the small, punchy actress with a voice that can coat a back wall in honey from 100 paces.”
In the last year, Helen McCrory became a close colleague as we worked alongside her, her husband, Damian Lewis, and actor Matt Lucas on the #FeedNHS campaign. At the height of the first lockdown we spoke nearly every day and served over a million meals to NHS workers on the frontline.
On Friday afternoon, I was in my office when I heard the news.
My immediate thought was, no, they’ve got that wrong. People must have confused her with someone else. Just the day before, I had been writing about Helen, Damian and Matt, for Letters From Lockdown, a compilation of notes to two children about people’s lives in the past year. How could it be that she had passed away? I was shocked.
I didn’t know Helen was ill. I don’t know how long she was receiving treatment, nor what type of cancer she had. Part of me wondered if I should have known, if other people knew and I didn’t. Was there something I missed?