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'Bucket List' blogger Alice Pyne dies aged 17

The courageous teen passes away after a battle with Hodgkin's Lymphoma.

In 2011, the New Statesman reported on the ‘bucket list’ blog by a terminally ill 15-year-old that became an immediate internet phenomenon. Alice Pyne, the ambitious and determined teen behind the blog, has died after a five year battle with cancer. She suffered from Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and passed away with her parents and sister at her bedside on Saturday.

Alice began her blog after being informed that her illness was terminal. She described how the spread of cancer throughout her body was “a pain because there's so much stuff that I still want to do”.

The blog therefore documented her ‘bucket list’; a catalogue of ambitions she intended to achieve before her battle was lost. Her aspirations ranged from everyday activities such as attending her school leavers’ prom and having a nice photo taken with her dog, to meeting Take That, and going whale watching. Most essentially, her goal was to get ‘everyone to join a bone marrow register’.

Alice and her family, from Ulverston in Cumbria, were shocked at the response her first post achieved, with over 2000 comments indicating just how much she had captured the world’s attention. “Oh dear… I thought that I was just doing a little blog for a few friends!” she wrote in her next message.

Her blog has since racked up over 4.5 million views, as readers were invited to follow her struggles and triumphs, witnessing the completion of her bucket list one by one, and hearing about some of the best days of her life.

The teen went on to accomplish more than most: she set up her own charity, Alice’s Escapes, for other young terminally ill children; met the Prime Minister; won a Pride of Britain award; earned a British Empire Medal for services to charity; and inspired thousands to sign up to a Bone Marrow register - all the while keeping the world updated with her refreshing optimism.

In a message on her blog on Saturday, her mother informed her daughter’s followers that “Our darling girl, Alice, gained her angel wings today”, going on to say that the family are “devastated” and “know that our lives will never again be the same”.

In her last post on New Years’ Day, Alice expressed her own surprise at how long she managed to continue fighting her battle, “I'm so excited…because every time I plan something, I always think that I won't be here to see it happen, and then I am”.

For information on becoming a bone marrow donor, visit

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Labour tensions boil over at fractious MPs' meeting

Corbyn supporters and critics clash over fiscal charter U-turn and new group Momentum. 

"A total fucking shambles". That was the verdict of the usually emollient Ben Bradshaw as he left tonight's Parliamentary Labour Party meeting. His words were echoed by MPs from all wings of the party. "I've never seen anything like it," one shadow minister told me. In commitee room 14 of the House of Commons, tensions within the party - over the U-turn on George Osborne's fiscal charter and new Corbynite group Momentum - erupted. 

After a short speech by Jeremy Corbyn, shadow chancellor John McDonnell sought to explain his decision to oppose Osborne's fiscal charter (having supported it just two weeks ago). He cited the change in global economic conditions and the refusal to allow Labour to table an amendment. McDonnell also vowed to assist colleagues in Scotland in challenging the SNP anti-austerity claims. But MPs were left unimpressed. "I don't think I've ever heard a weaker round of applause at the PLP than the one John McDonnell just got," one told me. MPs believe that McDonnell's U-turn was due to his failure to realise that the fiscal charter mandated an absolute budget surplus (leaving no room to borrow to invest), rather than merely a current budget surplus. "A huge joke" was how a furious John Mann described it. He and others were outraged by the lack of consultation over the move. "At 1:45pm he [McDonnell] said he was considering our position and would consult with the PLP and the shadow cabinet," one MP told me. "Then he announces it before 6pm PLP and tomorow's shadow cabinet." 

When former shadow cabinet minister Mary Creagh asked Corbyn about the new group Momentum, which some fear could be used as a vehicle to deselect critical MPs (receiving what was described as a weak response), Richard Burgon, one of the body's directors, offered a lengthy defence and was, one MP said, "just humiliated". He added: "It looked at one point like they weren't even going to let him finish. As the fractious exchanges were overheard by journalists outside, Emily Thornberry appealed to colleagues to stop texting hacks and keep their voices down (within earshot of all). 

After a calmer conference than most expected, tonight's meeting was evidence of how great the tensions within Labour remain. Veteran MPs described it as the worst PLP gathering for 30 years. The fear for all MPs is that they have the potential to get even worse. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.