COUN Phyll Cullen’s year as Wigan’s mayor was tragically ill-starred.
Her husband Terry suddenly died while she was in office, then just days later she was diagnosed with breast cancer and since then daughter Trish has also been battling serious illness.
And the brave politician says she is longing for the “jinx” to end after ending up in hospital again thanks to a freak gardening accident.
A giant stone toadstool toppled over onto Coun Cullen’s left foot, breaking two of her toes.
She said: “I can’t believe it has been 12 months since Terry died - and that I am still having problems. I am hoping after today, which is the 12-month anniversary of Terry’s death, that will be the end of my jinx year. So fingers crossed my broken toes are the last thing.
“My garden has a stream running into a fish pond and apples had fallen off the tree into the water. I was worried they would ferment and poison the fish, so I asked my son to chop the branches down, which he did. He was going to return to remove them but, me being me, I thought I’d do it myself. I was dragging a massive branch round when it got entwined with an ornamental toadstool, the top came off and it fell on my foot.
“It grazed my right leg and crushed two toes on my left foot. I have what is called a comminuted fracture, which is a break of a bone into more than two fragments. I am on crutches but I am struggling to use them as my right arm is not very good following an operation on my lymph nodes. I have a padded shoe on with bandages. It is all very inconvenient as I can’t drive. You don’t realise how much you rely on your car until you can’t use it.”
Coun Cullen still faces more cancer treatment, but has been given a few months’ grace. She said: “I have been given some time off from chemotherapy as I now only have to go back next year. The doctor wants me to have more tests. The tablets I am on for my cancer make my bones weaker and blood thinner, so I am more susceptible to breaks and falls. It is my foot now that I am more concerned about.”