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I want to die, insists ailing ex-Cavern DJ.

Byline: Lew Baxter

EX-CAVERN Club DJ Bob Wooler has told close friends he "wants to die" after being taken seriously ill.

Sir Paul McCartney is among those who have sent get well wishes - and a huge bouquet of flowers - to Mr Wooler who is seriously ill in the Royal Liverpool Hospital.

But last night close friends of Wooler insisted the pop star doesn't realise how critical things are for the man who introduced Brian Epstein to the Beatles.

Bob's long time friend and business partner Alan Williams - the Fab Four's first manager - described his condition as graver than people think.

McCartney wrote on a card accompanying the colourful blooms: "Get well soon, you lovely man".

The ailing Bob Wooler, 76 last month, was rushed into hospital after friends, worried that they couldn't contact him, called police to break into his flat off Lark Lane, where they found him lying on the floor helpless.

He has been unwell for some time with a heart condition and diabetes.

Messages of good will have flooded into the hospital from scores of local showbiz celebrities including McCartney's brother Mike, Chris Curtis of the Searches band, Radio Merseyside's Billy Butler, musician Mike Byrne and even Iris Caldwell, the sister of the ill-fated singer Rory Storm.

Bob's ex-wife Beryl Adams, ironically Brian Epstein's first secretary, has been at his bedside almost daily since he was admitted.

Fighting back tears as she held Bob's hand, Beryl - they were married for six years - said: "We didn't want to broadcast it at first because he is a very proud man and in a general public ward with no privacy."

But she confided that in her opinion Mr Wooler is declining rapidly.

She said: "It is sad to see such a once lively personality in this undignified state.

"He has had checks on his kidneys and liver but it's been hard to find out exactly what is happening. All that the staff will say is that they are dealing with it."

Beryl went on: "It is awful that his last days should be so tragic. He is stuck here in this public ward with the television blaring day and night.

"And because he can't walk he even has to perform his ablutions in front of other patients. No-one even bothers to draws the curtain. It is so humiliating for him."

Bob Wooler - his feet and lower legs swollen grotesquely by chronic water retention - has told friends: "I just want something to happen. I can't go on like this. I want to die now."

A clearly distraught Beryl Adams said: "We asked if he could be moved to a quieter side ward - with just two beds - but it seems they are only for infectious cases."

Over the past 10 days, Beryl said she and other friends have tried desperately to find a private nursing home for Bob to see out his last days with some pride intact. "But he doesn't have much money and they are so expensive."

An upset Allan Williams added: "When you think of what Bob has contributed to Liverpool's culture and music industry it is appalling that he is suffering like this. Just left to fade away.

"We just wish something could be done at least to make his end more comfortable and leave him with a little self respect, " he said.

Bob Wooler was resident compere during the Cavern heydays from 1961, when the fledgling Beatles cut their teeth, through to 1967 when the old club closed down.

CAPTION(S):

CRITICAL: Bob Wooler, right, with former Beatles' manager Allan Williams
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Feb 4, 2002
Words:594
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