Family’s tribute to ‘giving’ Ben

Ben Huddleston as a toddler.
Ben Huddleston as a toddler.

A former Lancaster man who came through a brave childhood fight against chronic kidney failure has died, aged 30.

The problem was diagnosed when Ben Huddleston was just 11 days old.

By the time Ben had his second kidney transplant nine years later, he had undergone 24 operations and begun dialysis at home.

Ben, who grew up with his parents Diane and Edward, and younger sister Isobel, at Barns End Farm, Quernmore, initially flourished following his transplant.

Five years ago, the family moved to Britanny in France, where Ben, a former pupil at St Bernadette’s RC Primary School, Our Lady’s Catholic College and Hornby High School, worked with his dad and sister on a dairy farm.

His mum Diane said Ben had gone back on dialysis last September after his kidney failed.

He also developed lymphoma, a form of cancer affecting cells integral to the immune system, and had received chemotherapy.

Ben died after his body was unable to cope with an infection.

“He had been reasonably well, but in the 12 months previous to his kidney failing he had declined quite a bit,” said Diane. “Ben was a giving, generous person, who had a great love of life.

“He loved the area around the Tarnbrook valley.”

Diane said Ben had received a “wonderful” send-off at a thanksgiving service celebrating his life, at Dolphinholme Methodist Church last week.

More than 300 people attended the service, which was led by Ben’s second cousin Kelsall Huddleston, and involved family and friends.

Diane said the service had been “a moving but joyful celebration of Ben’s life lived to the full, often in the face of difficulties which would have defeated a less determined person”.

She added: “Ben drew on a great and lasting faith, which gave him the energy and will to pursue a life in farming both here, and with his family in France.”

Guests included Dr Robert Postlethwaite and Sister Trish Smith, who treated Ben as a child, and Dr Malcolm Lewis from the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, who cycled all the way from Lancaster Station in the rain to get to the service.

“That is the clearest demonstration of how Ben influenced the life of all those who knew him,” added Diane.

Ben’s family were due to scatter his ashes in the Tarnbrook valley last week, after receiving permission from the landowners.