08/12/2011 03:43 GMT

Geraldine McClelland, Dignitas Patient, Attacks 'Cowardice Of Politicians'

A British woman who travelled to Switzerland to die has condemned the "cowardice of politicians" which forced her to spend her last hours away from home.

Former TV producer Geraldine McClelland, 61, who was diagnosed with both lung and liver cancer, said she was relieved she would not be forced to suffer any longer, adding that she had chosen to die on her own terms with her family at her side.

In a letter published just hours after her death at the Dignitas clinic in Zurich, Ms McClelland said she was not sad, but "angry that because of the cowardice of our politicians I can't die in the country I was born in, in my own home".

"I would like to be able to choose to take medication to end my life if my suffering becomes unbearable for me, at home, with my family and friends around me," she wrote.

"But the law in this country prevents me from doing so."

Ms McClelland said her dying wish was for people to talk about her death.

She urged readers of the letter not to feel sad for her, but to "turn it into a fight to change the law so that other people don't have to travel abroad to die".

"I believe that as part of my end-of-life care, which has otherwise been good, I should have been allowed to choose not to endure the last weeks of my life, and I believe you should have that choice when you are dying too," she wrote.

"I don't believe that my brother and sister should have to break the law so that they can be with me when I die. Your loved ones should not be in that position either.

"My decision is made, I choose to die on my own terms and with my family around me in Zurich, and it's too late to change the law for me, but please, if you care about this issue at all, please make your voice heard."