Woman to trek through Himalayas in husband’s memory

Gail Chandler and Clive Mitchell on their wedding day in 2013. Julia Claxton Photography
Gail Chandler and Clive Mitchell on their wedding day in 2013. Julia Claxton Photography

A woman will be trekking through the Himalayas to raise money for the hospice where she married her late husband in 2013.

Gail Chandler, from Storrington, married musician Clive Mitchell in the chapel at St Barnabas House, in Worthing, just weeks before his death aged 52 after battling cancer.

Gail Chandler and Clive Mitchell on their wedding day in 2013. Julia Claxton Photography

Gail Chandler and Clive Mitchell on their wedding day in 2013. Julia Claxton Photography

In October 2018, Gail will join 50 other challenge seekers when they take on the charity’s Dalai Lama India Trek.

Gail and Clive first met at a pop festival in Cissbury Ring, in 1979, when Clive was the drummer in one of the bands.

She said: “I just found him so intriguing and I knew he was a very clever and special person.”

The pair formed a relationship and in 1983 had a daughter together called Jemma.

Gail Chandler and Clive Mitchell join friends and family for their daughter Jemma's wedding day in 2013. Julia Claxton Photography

Gail Chandler and Clive Mitchell join friends and family for their daughter Jemma's wedding day in 2013. Julia Claxton Photography

Clive, who had his own recording studio in Shoreham, had been with Gail for 25 years before he met Mary, a singer in his band and formed a relationship with her.

Seven years later, in 2012, Clive visited Jemma’s house for the family Christmas dinner at which point Gail became aware that Clive and Mary had split and he had become unwell.

She added: “I kept in contact with Clive.

“We were really good friends and watched out for each other. When I brought him back for Christmas dinner at Jemma’s he wasn’t himself.

“He was complaining of a headache and his body had changed shape considerably. At that point he couldn’t walk up the stairs to the spare room, so I made a bed for him on a mattress on the floor in the front room so all amenities were close to hand.”

Clive began deteriorating quickly and one day, whilst Gail was on the phone to St Barnabas, he was sick. He was told he would not survive more than a day but made a miraculous recovery and a week later he proposed.

Gail said: “He was sitting on the commode and he asked me to marry him. I burst out laughing with joy and said of course I would.”

Gail came across the Dalai Lama India Trek on the St Barnabas website earlier this year and felt it would be a great opportunity to support the hospice after the care she and Clive received.

She added: “The care St Barnabas provided is beyond any other care I’ve seen anywhere else. They are so specialised. The most caring, lovely people I have ever come across.”