A LOCAL author's chronicle of the untimely and unnecessary loss of his wife to cancer has won the personal approval of Hillary Clinton.

Don Lucey smuggled a copy of The Woman Who Wouldn't Die past the former First Lady's US secret service minders as she signed copies of her own book, Living History, at London bookshop.

Don, who lives near Swindon with daughter Rebecca, 15, published his book in early 2002.

His wife Christine died in 1995, aged 40, after fighting for six years against cancer which spread from her cervix after a series of medical blunders left it undetected for too long.

Mrs Clinton has now sent Don a personal letter of gratitude.

It said: "Thank you for the copy of The Woman Who Wouldn't Die.

"You have used your personal loss to inspire and help others. You were very kind to share your work with me."

It is the latest triumph for Don, a former soldier, police officer and bodyguard, in his work to promote the book and increase awareness of the dangers of misdiagnosis.

Christine died at the former Princess Alexandra Hospital in Wroughton.

The Ministry of Defence, which ran the hospital, eventually paid Don £420,000 in compensation, which was used to ensure that Rebecca would have a secure future.

The book has sold several thousand copies and is available through the Amazon website as well as at bookshops.

An American edition is expected to be brought out by US publisher IPM in November and Don has received letters from readers all over the world.

Mrs Clinton came to Waterstone's in Piccadilly, the largest bookshop in Britain, to promote her book three weeks ago.

Don and Rebecca went because they wanted to have copies signed and because they wanted to hand over a volume of Don's own book.

To get the book to her, he had to get it past security staff, but Don managed this by slipping it behind a carrier bag he had in his hand.

He said: "I told her I was an English author and that I would like to give her a present.

"All the FBI and CIA people just jumped back and stared. They were somewhat surprised.

"I told her she would find the book interesting and she thanked me."

Don is hoping that the endorsement of Mrs Clinton will enhance the book's sale prospects on the other side of the Atlantic.