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Tribute Page for Prof. Ashton and a Request for Privacy

Updated: Mar 23, 2023

Tribute Page

The Prof. Ashton Tribute Page on Benzo Free is now online.

We would love to add more messages to that page so please submit them when you can. You can do this via our feedback form or just comment on this or any other blog post and I will add it to that page.

This page will remain a permanent part of the Benzo Free website and I hope it will continue to grow with heart-warming messages for the Professor and her family.

Request for Privacy

I also want to make a personal plea to respect the family’s privacy during this time. Benzo Free has not published the funeral date out of respect for the family and we ask that the members of the benzo community honor Prof. Ashton’s wishes that the funeral remain a family-focused event. There are many other ways to honor this amazing woman in lieu of attending the funeral.

I received a request from John Ashton this morning to make the following letter public.

Thank you, D

Letter from John Ashton

Heather Ashton’s Funeral

I am John Ashton, Heather’s eldest son. I cared for my mother through the last four years of her life. I was with her during her final confinement and when she died.

It was my mother’s unambiguous wish that her funeral should primarily be a family affair. Unfortunately, and unaccountably, details of the event have started to circulate freely on benzo-related platforms, and word has reached us that some people may be planning to attend uninvited and unannounced.

Please understand that to do so would not be welcome to my mother. It would be an act of disrespect towards her and her memory. Her family would be grateful if anyone currently considering attending on this basis could abandon any such plans.

We completely understand the emotional impact Heather’s death will have on the countless people around the world – victims of benzo injustice and campaigners against it alike – who owe their lives, health and sanity to her compassion and her pioneering work. But there are many ways to show that, and there is no such impact that could justify a failure to show Heather in death the kindness and courtesy that she showed in life to all who sought her help or crossed her path.

That’s not to say that this wonderful community should be unrepresented. But Mum wanted to keep that to a small number of people with whom she was particularly close. They, and we, know who they are and it is our responsibility as a family to make sure they know they will be welcome. We hope the rest of the community can show their grief, and celebrate Mum’s life, in other ways, not least by continuing to stand tall in the struggle, on the foundation she laid.

John Ashton 1 October 2019


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