Journalist from St Albans launches book on love and loss

PUBLISHED: 13:59 15 July 2020 | UPDATED: 10:14 16 July 2020

Vikki and Ian on their wedding day. Picture: Alexandra Ridley

Vikki and Ian on their wedding day. Picture: Alexandra Ridley


A journalist from St Albans has written a heartbreaking book about losing his beloved wife to cancer.

The Breath of Sadness by Ian Ridley from Flamstead is available now. Picture: Laura BillThe Breath of Sadness by Ian Ridley from Flamstead is available now. Picture: Laura Bill

Ian Ridley’s autobiography ‘The Breath of Sadness’ is described as “an unflinching account of how we carry on when we are left behind”.

It tells the story of the deep sense of loss that he found himself thrown into when his wife died at just 56, and his own ongoing fight with cancer.

Ian and sports journalist Vikki Orvice lived together in their Flamstead home and she organised the book festival, Books In The Belfry, that took place in the village.

The former chair of St Albans Football Club said: “I was stunned by the immediate reaction to Vikki’s death. I knew she was popular and well-liked but this was something else.

“On Twitter people such as Seb Coe, Paula Radcliffe and Mo Farah all sent condolences, as did many footballers.”

Watford Football Club held a minute’s silence at a press conference the day after Vikki passed away.

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Ian, who still lives in the home he shared with Vikki, is a member of Alcoholics Anonymous and has been living a sober life for more than 30 years.

He said: “I don’t know what I would have done without my programme of recovery and my clean and sober friends. It’s interesting my old addiction counsellor said we grieve for the addiction we are giving up.”

Ian explained how both addiction and grief require a person to work through fear and anxiety.

He refers to the unanswered questions that he had after his wife died as well as the feelings of abandonment.

Ian turned to sport and wanted to be alone yet his experience of recovering from alcoholism helped him to connect with his emotions and gain support from close friends. Shortly after Vikki died, Ian’s cancer got worse and he wondered about declining treatment. He said: “Vikki was gone...what else was there? And I was in so much pain.”

But he resolved to keep her spirit and legacy alive, establishing a scholarship in her name and raising £103,000 for the Royal Marsden cancer hospital through a charity dinner.

He said the book serves as a love letter to Vikki and a record of her achievements, and is an enduring homage to her life.

Published by Floodlit Dreams, The Breath of Sadness is available now £13.99.

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