Blackpool detective dies after valiant three-year fight with motor neurone disease

A former Blackpool police detective who valiantly battled motor neurone disease for more almost three years has died.

By Wes Holmes
Tuesday, 18th January 2022, 12:30 pm

Detective sergeant Mark Cruise, 54, passed away from the terminal disease, which progressively ravages parts of the nervous system, on Friday (January 14).

His wife Laura said: "Mark was a huge character and brought a lot to so many peoples lives; his illness and death is a tragedy. As his wife I can say the last three years have been tough, but we faced it together.

"It’s hard to imagine a life without Mark, but he helped me to become the strong person I am today, so I will go forward cherishing his memory, making him proud."

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DS Mark Cruise has died nearly three years after being diagnosed with MND

Mark, a dad of four, was diagnosed with MND in February 2019. The disease quickly took hold, and he was forced to retire from his 27-year policing career, which had led him to crack cases in Blackburn, Preston and Skelmersdale before eventually settling in Blackpool.

His friend, fellow police officer Simon Giles, 52, said: "Mark was a stubborn guy with a massive heart. No matter the trials and tribulations he went through, he never gave up. He maintained that he could still walk up two flights of stairs, and it was only when he was really struggling that he admitted he needed help. He wouldn't use a wheelchair until the very last minute. Even though his body was getting weaker, in his head, he was still fighting it.

"It was inspirational to be around him, but so heartbreaking, because we could see the man he used to be.

"His brain was still as sharp as ever. Up until the last few weeks he retained his ability to speak. He was a joker and he always had the sharpest wit. I'd struggle to name someone - apart from the criminals - who didn't have a good word to say about him."

Mark with his wife Laura

Family and friends rallied to help Mark in his final months as they raised £35,000 to pay for home adaptations allowing him to maintain a semblance of family life with his wife and children.

Follow detective sergeant Chris Williams, 53, from Thornton, ran 2km almost every day throughout 2020, raising more than £10 in the process, while others completed challenges for the MND Association, the main charity for people living with motor neurone disease the UK.

Simon said: "Losing Mark has left us with a feeling of immense sadness. He was only 54. At the same time, he's no longer suffering.

Mark in his early policing years

"When we do have his funeral, which hasn't been arranged yet, it will be a celebration of his life, because there are so many stories to tell about him, and so many bits of magic to come out.

"Mark was a loveable rogue, a very, very charming guy, a good detective, very professional, and he was an inspiration to a lot of people in Lancashire Constabulary. He leaves a massive hole in a lot of people's lives, his family and his friends."

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