Colin Hunter went to the Hospice for three years. He started with sessions in the David White Group, and then Day Hospice weekly. Colin also went into the In-Patient Unit for respite care from time to time.

“Having seen the consultant, they are really brilliant,” says Colin. “They work closely with my GP and my cardiac consultant, and owing to the fact that there’s nothing else they can do, it’s palliative care I get, which is really second to none. I have to go there every week on a Thursday to Day Hospice, and every eight to twelve weeks I go in for a six night stay where they review all your medication, and if you get any problems they sort you out straight away. And it gives my wife a break, who is 24/7.”

Colin’s wife, Denise, cares for him full time except when he is in the Hospice. “I’m just so grateful that there’s somewhere that takes the time out, the extra mile. It’s not just a case of you pick the phone up, I need this, I need a prescription, can you just tell me this…there’s always that bit of extra comfort there. I just feel as if they are there for us as well as their patients,” she says.

“When I get up there [to Day Hospice] on a Thursday, the first thing you get is a cup of tea,” Colin explains. “Pam and Barbara come around: “Any nibbles?” So you get a plate of nibbles. Then Di comes round: “Are you coming in for reiki?” Well, I’d never had it before, but I tell you, it’s wonderful! They do so much for you, nothing is too much trouble.”

Colin and Denise both feel that the community in general is unaware of the Hospice’s existence until they actually need it – and that many people don’t really know what it provides.

“Nobody knows, from the smallest to the greatest, when they’re going to need that service,” Denise says. “People assume the Hospice is funded by the NHS. They think, well if they only go in there to die, what do they need funds for? They don’t understand the whole thing.”

“People have got this concept that going into the Hospice, you never come out. Well I know for a fact that 60% of people do come out of the Hospice,” Colin says.

Denise agrees. “It is definitely like an oasis…it’s so calm in there, you should never be frightened to go in there.”

“I am so grateful for all they have done for me,” says Colin. “Hand on heart, if they didn’t give me the help, I needed, I wouldn’t be here now.”

This article was written in January 2017. After an emergency admission to hospital, the Hospice staff made sure that Colin got his wish to be moved to the Hospice, and he died peacefully in the Hospice in May 2018.