My Mum, Your Dad contestant Roger reveals his beloved wife of 31 years ‘went to sleep and never woke up’ after finding cancerous spot behind her ear on family holiday
Roger, 58, a postman, stole the show while on a first date with single mother Caroline in last night’s episode when he told how his wife Joanne, 52, went to sleep on the sofa and never woke up.
In an emotional clip, Roger, who had three children with Joanne, told Caroline on their date: ‘We were on holiday in Italy and I just looked behind her ear, and it was irritating her – just a little spot behind her ear.
‘I said ”you need to get that checked out when you get back” and she did. She got seen to really quick, and it was melanoma. But she didn’t know that by that time the cancer had gone to her brain.’
And speaking about his late wife on ITV this morning, he explained she wanted him to find someone new: ‘She was perfect. To send a message and she’s still controlling me… it didn’t surprise me hearing what she said.’
Speaking on his first date in 40 years, he told Lorraine: ‘I think I was very lucky it was Caroline, she nursed me through it as I was very nervous.’
Roger continued: ‘She said ”I’m really tired”, and I said ”come on I’ll put you to bed or do you want to go on settee?”, and she said ”put me on settee”. Then I come in about half an hour later, and obviously, I should have just phoned an ambulance straight away.’
Caroline, who was reduced to tears by the story, replied: ‘But you wouldn’t have known.’
Roger said: ‘She’d had breast cancer about three or four years ago, and she got over that before.’
Roger had admitted he was not yet ready to date when he first joined the show.
The father was nominated to appear on the programme by his daughter Jess, who also features as he bids to find love alongside seven other singletons.
During an appearance on Lorraine on Tuesday, Roger said: ‘I knew I wasn’t [ready]. I loved it and think I get slightly better as it goes on. It was difficult but it wasn’t something I couldn’t pass up.’
On why his daughter Jess, who works as a planner for Network Rail, nominated him for the series – dubbed the middle-aged Love Island – he explains: ‘She’s a lovely girl.
‘Her mum was really thoughtful in everything – she could plan things to a detail – and Jess has got that.
‘She is so thoughtful and it was just a lovely thing for her to say, “Dad, look, we understand that you’re struggling and it’s been hard and we know that you’ve got a lot of love to give and we’re OK if you were to see someone else”.’
His beloved wife Joanne is decribed as a ‘brave, courageous and wonderful woman’ in an online charity fundraiser in her honour.
It also says: ‘Jo was an incredible wife, mum, daughter, sister, Aunty, cousin and friend, she brought love, happiness and laughter to so many people’s lives.
‘As a nurse in critical care she showed compassion and kindness to families when they needed it most and she will always be remembered and loved by her colleagues.’
On Lorraine, Roger said: ‘Following my wife’s passing 18 months ago, I didn’t really want to meet anyone.
‘You don’t expect it to be you and you don’t expect it to be your wife.
‘But I’m going on the show to get some confidence. I must have subconsciously wanted to meet someone by saying yes to the show.’
Speaking about her dad, Jess, 28, revealed it was a joint decision by herself and her siblings to apply for the series on his behalf as they’re happy for him to start dating again.
Roger’s story left fans of the show emotional as they shared their support for the widower on social media.
One person wrote on Twitter: ‘It’s only episode one and I already want nothing but the world for Roger, GIVE THAT MAN A HUG. #MyMumYourDad.’
Another wrote: ‘Aw Roger… What a true gent, big heart and the nation loves you. I think we all want to jump through the telly and give him a squeeze.’
A third said: ‘Brought me to welling up… So tough for him.’
A fourth penned: ‘Poor Roger and family. His daughter said this is a way of giving him permission to meet someone. It’s not permission he needs it’s time he is not ready.’
While it’s been dubbed the ‘middle-aged Love Island’, rather than sunning themselves in a Spanish villa, they will be roaming the gardens of a West Sussex mansion.
The show is the brainchild of Davina McCall, who is presenting, as she wanted to see contestants ‘who’ve lived a life’ and show mid-life people looking for love that ‘not all is lost for them’.
On the show, parents will undergo dates and bonding workshops while unknowing being watched by their children from an out-house with ‘pillows over their faces’ in embarrassment.