A RESTAURANT owner is inviting Didim residents to remember loved ones in a unique way as part of hosting a Macmillan Cancer Support coffee morning this month.

Laura Turan and her partner, Ahmet, have painted a memorial tree at their Koko Kafe on which people will be able to buy and place a ceramic leaf on in memory of their loved ones.

Laura Turan and her partner, Ahmet, with the memorial tree created in Michael’s honour

The ‘living’ tree – and taking part in the World’s Largest Coffee Morning on Friday September 29 – was inspired by Laura’s cousin Michael Rivett, a 51-year-old father-of-three, from Sudbury, in the UK, who succumbed to bowel cancer in January.

Laura said: “Michael’s death was a complete shock to all the family. He was in the prime of his life, married with three loving children and was suddenly cut down by cancer.

“As much as I wanted to host a coffee morning in his name, I also wanted to have something more permanent. So I came up with the idea of creating the tree, and inviting the public to place ceramic leaves on the tree in their loved names.”

Mr Rivett’s daughter, Kirsty, commented: “The memorial tree is a wonderful idea and hosting the coffee morning in Dad’s honour is a really nice thought. I hope the Didim community respond and help raise funds for a much-needed cause.”

Laura’s cousin Michael Rivett

Of her dad, she said: “We really loved him beyond words. He has left a hole in all our lives that can never be filled.

“He was a true gent and always had a smile on his face. Even through his fight, he never let up how down he was feeling.”

Speaking of her father’s illness, she said: “Dad was unwell with a cough for a few months prior to his diagnosis and started to lose weight.

“He went to the doctors and scans detected shadows on his lungs. Through further tests they discovered he had Stage 4 bowel cancer. It had already spread to his lungs and liver.

“He had lived with it for two or three without even knowing.”

She said: “The only symptom was a cough from the secondary cancer. By then it was too late. He started chemotherapy in March 2016 only a month after his diagnosis. It was to try and slow the process but it didn’t work.

“He finally gave up the fight 11 months after being diagnosed with 12 months to live.”

As part of the coffee morning, Koko Kafe, which is located just a few metres from the Meryemena Hotel off Ege Road, is also planning a number of events.