The music world is reeling today from the news that the eminent British conductor Sir Edward Downes and his wife Lady Joan have ended their lives together at the Dignitas clinic in Zurich. Sir Edward - who was always known as Ted - was 85 and had lost most of his sight and some of his hearing; his wife, 74, was ill with cancer. The Times has a full report and a fine tribute from Richard Morrison.
Of course they will be much missed. Perhaps this high-profile instance of a devoted couple choosing their own destiny together will help make the case for the legalisation in this country of what they decided to do.
Jessica Duchen is a music journalist and the author of four novels, two biographies and several stage works. She writes regularly for The Independent and BBC Music Magazine. Her latest novel, Songs of Triumphant Love, is published by Hodder.
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