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Fernando Ricksen diaries part one: Rangers icon’s final days in battle with MND relived in new book

FERNANDO Ricksen’s desperate battle with MND is being relived by his widow and one of his closest pals in a new charity book.

The Rangers idol’s wife Veronika, 34, and biographer Vincent De Vries, 46, wrote The Final Battle over six years from the hero’s shattering diagnosis to his death at 43.

Rangers legend Fernando Ricksen battled against MND

Vincent said of the rollercoaster account: “It’s not just about sadness. It’s also about joy.”

Our exclusive serialisation of the Dutch ace’s struggle with the illness will describe moments from his diagnosis in October 2013 up to his death last September.

Now, we tell of Vincent’s tragic diary entries from his final visits to see the stricken Gers hero at St Andrew’s Hospice in Airdrie.

BIOGRAPHER Vincent has told how he fought tears as he read back about his final meetings with his late pal.

The journalist, 46 — who spent nearly seven years compiling the book — admitted that it was emotional reliving the journey in print.

Vincent told The Scottish Sun: “It was very tough reading back my visits to the hospice.

“That was the hardest piece of the book, the last visit.

“I wrote it maybe ten times because it was so hard.

“It was a very tough day leaving because I knew for sure that that would be the last time I saw him.

“It was emotional partly because I never showed emotion in front of him. I had to be strong for him.

“There were tears for sure when I read it back. He’s in my mind every day. I miss him a lot.”

Vincent De Vries with the Dutch version of the book
Vincent De Vries with the Dutch version of the book

The pair spoke every day on WhatsApp and travelled to Rangers fan events together, with Vincent also making regular trips to see him in the hospice in his final months.

And it was Fernando’s wish to have the book published after his death — to show how tough fighting MND is.

Vincent said: “He said, ‘Please write the book but show the negatives and the positives’.

“It’s not a book just about sadness, it’s also about joy.

“He wanted people to know more about MND. It was an honour to know him and to read back in the book how he never gave up.

“He still had humour till the end. Could I have done that? I don’t think so.

“He knew he would die soon but he kept joking and making people laugh.

“It shows the real Fernando.”

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By: Ben ARCHIBALD
Title: Fernando Ricksen diaries part one: Rangers icon’s final days in battle with MND relived in new book
Sourced From: www.thesun.co.uk/sport/football/11863500/rangers-fernando-ricksen-final-days-mnd-book/
Published Date: Sun, 14 Jun 2020 23:43:48 +0000

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