Tributes paid to leading chef who tragically lost cancer battle

An Aberdeen mother today paid tribute to her “kind, handsome, and hard-working” son who died after a battle with cancer.

Former restaurateur Mark Millsom died on Tuesday – after a valiant two-year fight with throat cancer at his home in Portugal.

Speaking of the family’s loss, his mum Maureen, 78, said: “Mark was a toff of a guy who achieved so much in life.

“He was generous to a fault, and was also a gifted and talented chef.

“Our whole family is devastated by our loss. We are still struggling to take the news in.”

Mark, who had only turned 56 a few weeks earlier, passed away peacefully in the arms of his partner, Paula Hepburn.

Despite both being born and raised in Aberdeen, they met on holiday in Greece 32 years ago.

Maureen added: “Paula has shown so much courage throughout Mark’s illness.

“She has never wavered, nor left his side.

“She was just wonderful with him, and she really is a wonderful girl.

“Who could ask for more?”

Mark, who was a former boss of Bistro Verde, Moonfish Cafe and La Bonne Brasserie, hit the headlines in July when he turned to a crowdfunding page in the hope of raising 13,000 Euros (£11,400) to cover the cost of a three-week treatment programme at the Budwig Center in Spain.

Incredibly, after just days that target was reached.

Mark was overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity he received, and was very touched by the wave of love and goodwill that came his way.

He decided to follow a holistic, alternative approach to fighting the disease, declining both chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

Mark, who grew up in Rosehill and attended Hilton Academy, believed it would have left him with serious side effects with no guarantees.

“As a mother, I understood his decision to go down the holistic route as a lot of time chemotherapy just doesn’t work,” added Maureen.

“But of course, deep down I wished he would have tried, but I had to respect my son’s decision in the end.”

A loving uncle of 10 nieces and nephews, Mark also leaves behind elder brother, Gary, 57, Scot, 53, who part owns Millsom and Main Kilt Hire, and Paul, 49.

Sadly, the family are no strangers to loss. Mark’s younger sister Lynn, died suddenly at the age of 49, five years ago.

Maureen said: “He put up such a brave fight and I am immensely proud of him, as are his brothers and the rest of the family.

“I am just relieved my son is now at peace, and is free from pain.”

A humanist funeral service was due to take place yesterday for Mark at Castelo Branco in the village of Mata Daranna.