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by Norman Warwick

When researching a story biography for a forthcoming subject on these pages I was, for reasons that will subsequently become obvious, reminded of the fictional Coronation Street character of Hayley Cropper.

We are told by Coronation Street Wiki, that Hayley Patterson was born as Harold Patterson in 1966. As a child, she was lonely due to having no friends or siblings, and felt out of place among the other boys. In particular, she never felt right in her body, especially after puberty which she described as “like sores breaking out”.

When Hayley was fourteen, her mother walked out on the family and she was raised by her father thereafter. Hayley had respect for her father but he didn’t understand her problems. As a teenager, she became friends with a girl called Cath who was similarly outcast amongst their peers. They stopped seeing each other shortly after Hayley lost her virginity to Cath, and as a result Hayley didn’t find out until 2007 that Cath had given birth to Hayley’s son Christian Gatley. Another friend of Hayley’s from this period was Ruth Audsley, who hid her attraction to “Harold”. When her father had an accident, Hayley became her dad’s home carer and what life she had outside the house was reduced to nothing.

Over time, Hayley (left, filming with ´Curly Watts´) came to better understand her feelings about her mind and body and she decided to become physically a woman. When she told her father this, he threw all photographs of “Harold” into the fire and refused to allow her to wear woman’s clothes in his presence. To prepare her body for surgery, Hayley was given hormones and she began identifying herself as a woman. Some time later, her dad regularly attended day centres, and Hayley went out to work as secretary to manager Curly Watts at Firman’s Freezers in Weatherfield.

Because of her sheltered upbringing, Hayley was shy and had trouble making friends. Worse still, her position at Firman’s was one of authority, and Hayley was too afraid of her colleagues to discipline them. When an unimpressed Curly told Hayley to stop being so wet, he reduced her to tears in front of another colleague, Alma Baldwin. Feeling sorry for Hayley, Alma offered her the hand of friendship, although she was slightly disturbed when Hayley, having no other friends, latched on to her and started following her around.

In February, Curly and Alma broke the news to Hayley that her father had passed away. On hearing that Hayley didn’t have anyone else in her life, Alma and Mike Baldwin held a dinner party with Hayley, Curly, Audrey Roberts and Roy Cropper as guests, but the intention to match-make Hayley and Curly was obvious and embarrassed the pair. However, Hayley was impressed with Roy, whose stories at the dinner table had bored everyone but her, and they went out for a drink afterwards.

In Roy, (right) Hayley had found someone who was similarly set apart from the world around him, and although Roy had trouble expressing his feelings, he greatly enjoyed Hayley’s company. After a few more dates, Hayley decided to reveal her secret to him. Over a romantic meal at Roy’s cafe, Roy’s Rolls, Hayley confessed to him that she had been born a man, and explained to him what had led her to decide to change her body. Though she asked only for his friendship, Roy took the news badly and asked her to leave him alone.

Rejected by Roy, Hayley confided her troubles in Alma, also revealing her sex change to her. Alma took the news better, and urged Roy to make amends. Roy regretted his harshness with Hayley and asked her to be his friend again, which she gratefully accepted, but despite liking her as a person, her sex change still made him uncomfortable and their relationship stalled. In April, Hayley received her father’s inheritance and went to Amsterdam for her final operation.

After her operation, Hayley remained in Amsterdam and rented a houseboat, intending to stay for a while. She wrote to Roy letting him know where she was, and was shocked when, a short time later, he visited her out of the blue. Having missed each other, they toured the sights of Amsterdam together, while surreptitiously trying to find out where they stood in each other’s affections. Roy was especially closed, but as he left to go back the UK, he gave her an engraved gold watch. Hayley caught up with Roy at the airport and returned to Weatherfield with him.

Hayley knew that her past would always be a part of her; immediately on her arrival in the UK, she was stopped by Immigration as she still held a man’s passport. Roy and Hayley decided to start an affair and shared their first kiss at the boating lake on the Red Rec.

Unable to return to Firman’s Freezers, Hayley got a job at Underworld knicker factory when Roy won a bet with Mike Baldwin (left with Alma) that Hayley could out-machine any of his girls. Hayley was thrilled to work in an environment where she could just be “one of the girls”, but her colleagues took some time to warm to her due to her showing them up with her speed on the sewing machine. Additionally, Mike discovered her secret when Alma told him why the DSS was insisting that Hayley was called Harold. Worried about staff morale should the girls find out, Mike sacked Hayley, but without knowing the reason behind it, the girls demanded her reinstatement and threatened to strike. Mike eventually caved in and re-hired Hayley.

Looking for somewhere permanent to live, Hayley was delighted when Roy asked her to move in with him, dutifully offering to sleep on the sofa until they were married. His offer came with a proposal of marriage, but Hayley had to decline, reminding him that they couldn’t marry under UK law. However, she did not want to sleep apart from Roy anyway, and as she moved into Roy’s flat, they cemented their relationship, although Hayley lied to Roy by telling him that, like him, she was a virgin.

At work, Hayley had to live with Mike’s constant ribbing. His bad treatment of her intensified when Roy threw a pint over him in the Rovers Return in retaliation for calling Hayley a freak. Eventually Hayley decided she’d had enough and told the girls herself. The news quickly spread throughout Coronation Street, stunning the residents. After the initial surprise, most were supportive of Hayley, but some, such as Les Battersby, picked on her, while at work Linda Sykes tried to make her use the gents toilets, resulting in Mike stepping and forcing Linda to back down (although his intentions were only to get everyone back to work, rather than anything noble). Hayley felt the strain of everyone watching her and contemplated leaving Weatherfield, but Roy pleaded with her to stay and together they braved the Rovers.

At the end of the year, Hayley bought Gail Platt‘s share of the cafe but went on working at the factory. With Hayley behind him, Roy bought a new unit in Victoria StreetNo.16, and the flat above, and moved the cafe there.

In February 1999, Hayley became suspicious of Roy’s movements when he put on his best clothes to go for a walk. Following him along with Linda and Janice Battersby, she saw him meeting a woman, who turned out to be Beryl Freeman, his dancing tutor. Unbeknown to Hayley, Roy was planning to propose to her at the upcoming 70s Valentine’s dance, but when Roy caught Hayley spying on him even after he’d explained why he was seeing Beryl, he felt betrayed by her lack of trust, causing a brief rift between them. However, with some prompting by Alma, he surprised Hayley by turning up at the disco dressed as John Travolta and showed that his dancing lessons hadn’t gone to waste. He then proposed, and Hayley excitedly accepted, agreeing not to be defeated by a law.

Driven by his determination to fulfill his promise to Hayley, Roy found (via Emily Bishop) a minister who agreed to perform a ceremony at St. Paul’s Church. Hayley made her own dress, while the train was made by the other girls and presented to her at her hen party at No.5, with Janice Battersby selling Les’s records to pay for it. In revenge, Les tipped off a reporter about the wedding between “two blokes”. As the day arrived, the wedding party was just about to arrive when the press turned up at the church. While minister Jessica Lundy and Spider Nugent kept the reporters occupied, Emily intercepted the wedding party and told them to turn around. Hayley thought the day ruined but to her great surprise, Roy hastily re-organised the day’s events, moving the ceremony to the cafe. With Alma as Matron of Honour, Martin Platt as Best Man, and her Great Uncle Bert as Father of the Bride, Hayley and Roy were married on 23rd April 1999. By law they were still unwed, but with Hayley changing her surname to “Cropper” by deed poll, they considered themselves a married couple.

The following year was relatively quiet for the Croppers. As Hayley had yet to update her passport, they took their honeymoon in York. Although not a loving couple in the romantic sense, they were friends as well as husband and wife and enjoyed doing things together, such as taking Spanish lessons and learning first aid.

In March 2000, Hayley attracted the attentions of Stuart Leigh, a builder working on the Medical Centre development. Stuart kept popping into the cafe to see Hayley and they developed an innocent flirtation, with the understanding that nothing would happen due to Hayley being married. However, having got wind of the relationship, Les Battersby told Stuart that Hayley used to be a man. Stuart then confronted Roy and Hayley in the cafe and called them freaks.

The following month, Hayley was promoted to supervisor at the factory, with responsibility for quality control. Hayley was determined to prove herself capable and challenged Gwen Loveday about her shoddy work.

In September, having recently become closer to thirteen-year-old Sarah Platt and become godmother of her daughter Bethany, Hayley’s thoughts turned to children and she suggested to Roy that they adopt. Roy suggested fostering instead, as they would be able to help more children, and Hayley agreed. They successfully applied and were taken on as foster parents. However, their first experience with a foster child wasn’t an official one – on Christmas Day, they caught Wayne Hayes stealing food from the cafe, having run away from home. He was collected by his stepfather Alex Swinton and eventually returned to the children’s home. The Croppers struck up an instant bond with Wayne, but although the quiet lad hadn’t said why he ran away from home, as Alex left with Wayne, Roy saw him hit the boy through the cafe window.

In January 2001, the Croppers were accepted as foster parents and received their first foster child: Jackie Mosley, who stayed for two weeks while her mother was in hospital. It being a big step for them, Hayley and Roy were very attentive and enthusiastic, much to Jackie’s chagrin, but overall it was a pleasant experience for them. In April, they fostered Fiz Brown (left), a headstrong and somewhat rebellious young woman. Fiz tried her usual tricks to skive off school, only to be caught in the Corner Shop by Hayley when she was supposed to be ill. After setting the cooker on fire, Fiz was berated by Roy and retaliated by reporting him for hitting her. The Croppers were relieved when they were informed that Fiz had done similarly before, and there would be no action taken. Fiz subsequently returned to the area after turning sixteen, where she enjoyed a far better relationship with the Croppers.

In the summer, Hayley encountered Wayne Hayes and his mother Sheila in the Kabin and brought them to the cafe for lunch. Wayne later returned and stayed the night, feeling safe with the Croppers. Roy and Hayley felt protective of Wayne and, when he confessed that Alex often lashed out at him and his mum, they decided to act and reported Alex to Peter Hartnell, their contact from Social Services. However, when interviewed the Hayes family and Alex denied any abuse was taking place, and the Croppers were suspended from fostering for good measure. Refusing to give up on Wayne, Roy and Hayley implored Sheila to put her story straight, but she was too afraid of Alex even to admit the truth to them. They then tried recording Alex confessing to being abusive, but he spotted the tape recorder and smashed it. Alex then stunned them by offering to sell Wayne to them for £10,000, which he lowered to £5,000, eager for them to accept. Roy paid the money without Hayley’s blessing, but although Sheila returned it, she agreed for Wayne to remain with the Croppers for the time being.

While Wayne was staying with them, Roy and Hayley pretended to the neighbours that they were fostering him. For a few weeks, they lived in fear of Alex, Social Services and the police, finding little comfort in the fact that they were doing it to protect Wayne. Eager to give Wayne a sense of normality, they agreed to go on a camping trip with Martin PlattSally Webster and their children, but they were tracked down by Alex, who had heard about Hayley’s sexuality from Les Battersby. With Alex threatening to call the police, the Croppers stole Martin’s car and, taking Wayne with them, sought refuge with Hayley’s old friend Ruth Audsley in Warwickshire. A police search for the couple ensued, with the papers reporting them as kidnappers and painting Alex as a concerned stepfather. In desperation, Hayley and Roy hatched a plan to catch a ferry to Ireland, before coming to their senses and opting to turn themselves in and put their faith in the British justice system. However, before they could do so, Ruth shopped them and they were taken into police custody, and Wayne was returned to his parents.

After explaining the situation fully to the police, the Croppers were granted bail on the condition that they didn’t have any contact with Wayne. Furious that the police weren’t investigating Alex, Hayley refused to accept her bail condition and was remanded in custody. Roy admired his wife’s courage but advised her to change her mind as Wayne would understand them not visiting him under the circumstances. Hayley had a difficult time in prison, as the women in her block knew she was a transsexual and picked on her, but after a few weeks Sheila reported Alex to the police for beating her and Hayley was released, the charges against her and Roy dropped and Alex arrested.

In the wake of the Wayne incident, Peter Hartnell told the Croppers that their fostering suspension would be lifted, but the couple never fostered again.

In July 2003, Hayley went to visit her ill Aunty Monica. Just before she left, Hayley got into an argument with Tracy Barlow, standing her ground when Tracy made fun of her sexuality, although it revealed an insecurity in her that Roy didn’t find her physically attractive. Unbeknown to the Croppers, Tracy made a bet with Bev Unwin that she could bed Roy, in order to prove that she could have any man she wanted. Hayley then went to visit her family, and when she returned she was stunned when Roy told her he’d had sex with Tracy.

According to Roy, he had got drunk at Peter and Shelley Barlow‘s wedding reception and woke up the next morning in bed with Tracy. He couldn’t remember what had happened in between but Tracy was more than happy to fill in the blanks. While Roy was in a vulnerable state due to his grief over betraying Hayley, Hayley acted out in other ways, initially accusing Tracy of making the whole thing up, and then, after persuading Roy to fight for their marriage and not move out as he proposed, adopting a more feminine image, which was not to either of their liking. They seemed to be back on the road to normality when Tracy dropped a bombshell – she was pregnant, and Roy was the father.

Following Tracy’s news, Hayley found it too hard to go on and decided to leave Roy and live in Amsterdam, his betrayal hurting all the more for the fact that it had given him the one thing she couldn’t.

However, when she caught Roy attempting suicide in the cafe flat, Hayley broke into the cafe and stopped him, forcing him to drink salt water and make himself sick. Her resolve changed, and Hayley decided to support Roy in stopping Tracy from going through with her plan to have the baby aborted. Tracy agreed to have the baby and give it to Roy and Hayley in exchange for £20,000, with £5,000 as a deposit and the rest when the baby was born. The Croppers did not hesitate to pay up, although when Tracy went to the Caribbean with the money, they realised that she could afford to pay for an abortion in a private clinic and sought legal advice from Maya Sharma to find out how they stood. Maya suggested that Roy marry Tracy (right) .

Tired of appeasing Tracy, the Croppers became more aggressive in their dealings with her by telling Ken and Deirdre about her pregnancy, but Tracy hit back by getting an extra £10,000 out of them in exchange for her marrying Roy and then shaming them in public by telling the neighbours about their financial arrangement. A small Registry Office ceremony was arranged with Roy signing his assets over to Hayley beforehand in case Tracy tried to get hold of the cafe in the divorce. A baby girl was born on 9th February 2004, with Tracy stalling the Croppers for a few days before handing the baby over. All the pain they had gone through was forgotten as Hayley and Roy began a new life with their daughter, whom they named Patience Cropper.

A week after the birth, Hayley was serving as a bridesmaid to Karen McDonald at her and Steve‘s second wedding. In the middle of the ceremony, Tracy arrived and caused a scene by shouting for Roy, resulting in Steve having her ejected. Tracy then announced to the entire congregation that her baby was in fact Steve’s, and she never had sex with Roy at all. The Croppers fled from the wedding with Patience, but faced immediate pressure from the Barlows to give Tracy back the baby. Initially considering fighting for Patience, the Croppers made a joint decision to give Tracy back her baby, while they faced the fact that the pain and anguish they went through in the last eight months was all for nothing. While Tracy felt no guilt over her treatment of the Croppers, Ken and Deirdre forced her to pay back the money and make the Croppers godparents to Patience, whose name was changed to Amy Barlow. The Croppers even let Tracy off with paying some of the money in exchange for letting them baby-sit Amy, and when Roy’s divorce came through in June, the Croppers celebrated their freedom from Tracy with a candlelit dinner.

In March 2005, Hayley and Roy took in ten-year-old Chesney Brown when Les and Cilla went on an extended holiday in Spain without him. Chesney thought the Croppers would be a soft touch and laid it on with stories about how neglected he was at home. They saw through his scheme but even their regular attentive method of parenting were beyond what Chesney was used to at home. A year later, they let homeless Craig Harris move into the flat after finding him living in squalor in the empty bakery next door.

Enjoying making a difference to people’s lives, Hayley decided to do voluntary work at the church, although restrictions were placed on her due to her being a transsexual and she was only allowed to work with ex-offenders. While teaching a literacy class, Hayley came into contact with Becky Granger, with whom she had previously worked at Underworld. Becky had fled the area earlier that year, after framing Kelly Crabtree for robbing her friends at the factory. Hayley was wary of Becky’s attempts to befriend her but, sensing something in her, decided to cut her a break and gave her a job at the cafe. With her troubled past, Becky’s aggressive and thieving behaviour was a hard habit to break, but she was spurred on by her loyalty to the Croppers.

In September 2007, Hayley was saddened to learn of her Aunt Monica’s death. After the funeral, Hayley’s Uncle Bert passed on to Hayley some letters addressed to her which Monica had held onto. The letters, authored by Hayley’s old friend Cath, revealed to “Harold” the existence of his son. Hayley felt compelled to track down her son and hired a private detective, who identified her son as Christian Gatley, manager of a record shop.

Steeling herself, Hayley introduced herself to Christian, but for the moment she was too afraid to tell him who she really was. At the same time, she came clean to Roy about her secretive behaviour of late, and her lie to him about being a virgin when they met. Roy found the situation difficult to accept, but agreed to stand by Hayley provided she was honest from now on. Daunted by the prospect of telling Christian the truth, Hayley immediately broke her promise to Roy by telling Christian that she was his aunt and that his dad Harold was dead. Hayley enjoyed talking to Christian about Harold, but while she plucked up the courage to tell him the truth, her lies became more elaborate, much to Roy’s disapproval, whose one piece of advice on the matter was that she couldn’t build a meaningful relationship on a lie. Meeting with Christian on the pretence of showing him where Harold’s ashes were scattered, Hayley finally told Christian that she was Harold. Christian was weirded out by her revelation and punched Hayley when she ran after him, leaving her bleeding on the ground. Feeling Christian would have responded better if she had told him the truth in her own time, Hayley blamed Roy for everything and went to stay with Becky, although once she’d calmed down she returned to Roy.

In October, Hayley was offered a place on a six-month volunteer project building a school in Mozambique. She left Weatherfield immediately, with Liam Connor agreeing to keep her job open at the factory.

Hayley’s volunteer work lasted longer than expected; she didn’t return to the UK until November 2008. In that time, she’d fallen in love with Mozambique and its people, and in fact no sooner had she returned to Roy’s side that she announced her intention to return and continue her work. On hearing from her friend Tilly Eaves, with whom she had shared a tent in Mozambique, that their project leader Olaf was a womaniser, Hayley confessed to Roy that she had a crush on Olaf and he was part of the reason she wanted to return, but, coming to her senses, she opted to remain in Weatherfield and apologised to Roy for her heartless behaviour

Deciding not to return to the factory, Hayley continued with her volunteer work and helping Roy at the cafe. The Croppers’ charity work included organising a Christmas lunch for the homeless at the cafe. In 2009, Hayley was tempted back to the factory when Tony Gordon offered her the position of manager in his absence, although with the return of co-owner Carla Connor, Hayley returned to her old machinist/supervisor role.

In May 2010, Roy suggested to Hayley that they have a civil partnership, to improve their pension benefits. Hayley broached the possibility of having a legally-recognised wedding instead, as they had always intended to do once the law changed, but Roy opposed the idea because of the expense and his discomfort at expressing his feelings publicly. The issue hung in the air for a few weeks until, frustrated with Roy’s stiffness and insensitivity, Hayley went to stay with the Windasses. The Croppers were reconciled when Roy bought Hayley a salsa dress as a present. Their reunion was cemented when Hayley was taken hostage at the factory by a maniacal Tony Gordon, escaping after her fellow hostage Carla Connor appealed to Tony’s better side and persuaded him to let Hayley go. Realising how close he came to losing Hayley, Roy got down on one knee and proposed marriage instead of a civil partnership, and Hayley accepted without hesitation.

With the help of Mary Taylor and her wedding dossier, Hayley set about planning her dream wedding. Fiz and Becky agreed to be bridesmaids, and Mary found the perfect venue: the Shawbrooke Country House Hotel, which had a function room overlooking the East Lancs steam railway. As a surprise for Roy, Hayley arranged for the wedding bus to stop at the train station and for Roy to drive a steam engine to the venue, with the bridal party in the rear carriage. Hayley’s hen night, planned by Becky, saw her blindfolded and led to the cafe, which had been transformed into a salsa bar, where Sean Tully had hired a friend to pose as a Latin lothario and salsa dance with Hayley. Initially helpful, Mary had railroaded Hayley into accepting her suggestions but Hayley had been too polite to tell her to back off. Mary realised she wasn’t wanted when she didn’t receive an invite to the wedding, and in revenge she disconnected the rear carriage, stranding the bridal party. Commandeering a pump wagon, Fiz and Becky got the bride to the hotel in time, and Hayley and Roy were married legally.

In April 2011, Roy’s mother Sylvia Goodwin turned up at the cafe demanding an explanation for Roy’s no-show at her husband Roger‘s funeral, in the process meeting Hayley for the first time. As a boy, Roy had found his mother cold and unsympathetic, and as an adult she still instilled fear in him. However, when Hayley discovered that Roger’s death had left Sylvia bereft and living in a care home, she persuaded Roy to take her in. Two months after her arrival, Sylvia’s attentions turned to grandchildren. When she found Hayley’s hormone drugs, Sylvia assumed she was going through the menopause and gave her an aloe vera plant to help her. This drew the attention of Tracy Barlow, who let the cat out of the bag that Hayley was a transsexual. Sylvia was initially appalled but Roy rose to the occasion and made her feel ashamed for her gut reaction.

Sylvia soon settled down and became an indispensable member of the Cropper family. In October 2012, when Mary won tickets to the United States in a competition, she gave them to Roy and Hayley so that they could visit Sylvia, who was temporarily staying with her companion Milton Fanshaw in Palm Springs, California. Hayley remained there longer than Roy, returning on 9th January 2013.

In May 2013, Sylvia’s friend Dorothy passed on a letter for Roy, from his estranged father, St. John Cropper, asking him to get in touch. The letter stirred up some painful childhood memories of abandonment, but with Hayley’s encouragement Roy took a trip to Blackburn to meet St. John. At the given address, they were met by Margaret Cropper, St. John’s second wife, who informed them that her husband had recently passed away. Suppressing his feelings of grief, Roy slumped into a depression.

The Croppers’ problems were forgotten temporarily when the couple discovered that someone had been in the cafe overnight and moved things around, on multiple occasions. Roy became obsessed with catching the prankster, suspecting Beth Tinker, but the mystery was solved when Deirdre Barlow, walking her dog Eccles, found Roy sleepwalking on the Red Rec. Roy didn’t believe it until he saw himself sleepwalking on the cafe CCTV footage (which he’d had installed to catch the prankster). Traumatised by the incident, Roy’s sleepwalking episodes intensified, and on one occasion the cafe smoke alarm went off when Roy cooked in his sleep. Hayley insisted that he get a full health check, offering to go through one herself to encourage him.

When she got her results, Hayley was informed by the new GP, Dr. Akhtar, that she had abnormal liver functions and was checked into hospital for an ultrasound scan, which revealed a blockage in her bile duct. She was subsequently booked in for a more in-depth CT scan, after which the doctors broke the news to her that she had pancreatic cancer, and her chances of survival were only one in five. Hayley returned to work but, dazed by the news, she broke down in front of the girls, and privately informed Carla of her diagnosis. With Carla’s support, Hayley told Roy and Sylvia about the cancer.

In the following weeks, Hayley had two operations, the first to unblock her bile duct and the next to remove the tumour. Hayley continued to work throughout, insisting on giving herself a sense of normality and asking Roy not to mention the word “cancer” in her presence. She also swore those who knew to secrecy, but Roy blurted it out at Audrey Roberts‘s birthday party at Nick’s Bistro after catching her drinking alcohol. Although appreciative of her friends’ support, Hayley got fed up with the barrage of sympathy and decided to take up Mary’s offer of borrowing her motor home for a holiday with Roy.

On their return, the Croppers discovered that Sylvia had departed the Street to live with her sister. Hayley then had the operation to remove her tumour, giving Roy her wedding ring to look after while she was in the operating theatre. Upon awakening, Hayley looked at the clock and realised that not enough time had elapsed for the operation to have been successful, and it was confirmed by the consultant, Mr Peakman, that the tumour was inoperable as it encased a vital vein. Hayley was given six months, or up to a year with chemotherapy.

Hayley’s prognosis was devastating for the Croppers and their close friends, with Roy constantly fussing over her and trying to keep her from tiring herself. However, Hayley refused to be defined by her illness and remained as active as usual. One of the first things she did was to make a bucket list of everything she wanted to do before she died. Spurred on by a nightmare in which she was still Harold and had never met Roy, she decided to try and make amends with Christian. Hayley got in touch with Christian and he turned up at the cafe to see her, having stood her up at their arranged meeting in Bury two days prior due to his uncertainty about seeing her again. In order to know that Christian’s feelings were genuine, Hayley didn’t tell him about the cancer, and he delighted her by expressing his regret over hitting her six years prior and informing her that she had two grandchildren, Sam and Maisie. However, their meeting ended on a sour note when Christian refused to let Hayley meet his children.

In October, Hayley and Roy joined a cancer support group, where they met a couple, Jane and Jeff Rayner. Jane shocked the couple by making jokes about her pancreatic cancer, but while Roy found her attitude inappropriate, Hayley was inspired and befriended the couple. A short time later, Roy surprised Hayley by changing the habit of a lifetime and being spontaneous by booking a trip to Blackpool. The couple enjoyed the day immensely, with the highlight being a dance in the Tower Ballroom, Roy having learned ballroom dancing especially for the occasion. On their return, Hayley found out that Jane had been taken to a hospice for round-the-clock care. Hayley was alarmed at her friend’s rapid deterioration and revealed to a stunned Roy that she wanted to end her own life when the cancer spread, before her morphine dosage was high enough to make her delirious. Roy couldn’t believe that Hayley wanted to take herself away from him earlier than her illness dictated and refused to support her. Their row led to Hayley leaving Roy to stay with Fiz and Tyrone Dobbs at 9 Coronation Street, where she had a collapse due to an infection and was taken to hospital. The Croppers reunited, but the incident only made both parties more entrenched in their positions on Hayley’s suicide plot. When Jane passed away a short time later, Hayley struggled to cope and became tough on Roy for not supporting her. With Anna Windass’s encouragement (after Roy let slip Hayley’s plans), Roy lied and told Hayley that he had changed his mind.

As the year came to a close, Hayley started her chemotherapy sessions and began planning her funeral. To her surprise, Christian returned and introduced Hayley to Sam and Maisie, at the same time asking her for £5,000 to clear his debts. Although disappointed in Christian’s tactics, Hayley gave him the money and remarked to a disapproving Roy that she had no regrets. After Christmas, Hayley and Roy went to the hospital for the results of another scan, carried out when Hayley complained about feeling pains. The doctor revealed to the couple that the chemotherapy was proving ineffective due to the cancer being more aggressive than expected, and Hayley’s life expectancy was revised to mere weeks. Initially seeming to take the news well, Hayley broke down in a panto queue and asked Roy to take her home, where she became hysterical and knocked the Christmas tree over, complaining that her life had meant nothing. Comforted by Roy, she softened and told him that loving him had made her life worthwhile.

Over the following days, Hayley became more frail and lost her appetite. Feeling herself getting weaker, Hayley decided to end her life the next day and saw each of her close friends in turn, telling them how much she appreciated them, even finding the time to tell Tracy Barlow what a horrible person she was. On her last day, Hayley prepared a lethal cocktail, instructing Roy not to touch it, and ironed Roy’s best shirt for the funeral. Leading a terrified Roy into the bedroom, Hayley lay on the bed, while Roy played “The Lark Ascending” by Vaughan Williams, a mutual favourite of theirs, before laying down beside her. In their final conversation, Hayley and Roy reminisced about the past, with Hayley telling Roy that she knew what it was to be loved thanks to him, after which she downed the cocktail and passed away in Roy’s arms.

Eleven days after her death on 20th January 2014, Hayley Cropper received a humanist funeral with a colourful theme; mourners were under orders to dress brightly and Hayley was cremated in a coffin adorned with differently coloured flower patterns. This was followed by an upbeat music-filled wake in the Rovers. The manner of Hayley’s send-off was entirely appropriate for a woman who always looked to the positive; a woman who had lit up people’s lives with her boundless enthusiasm and kindness.

Check the official Coronation Street web site for biographies of all major characters.

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