Search

St Francis 30for30: ‘You don’t go in there and die, you go in there and get support’

08:32 10 June 2014

Michael and Beverley Simmonds

Michael and Beverley Simmonds

Archant

“I knew nothing about the hospice before this happened. You hear ‘hospice’ and you think it’s somewhere people go to die - but it’s so much more than that.”

Chris Nugent from Hornchurch isn’t exactly the kind of person you’d imagine benefiting from hospice support. As a healthy 68-year-old with a husband whose cancer is happily in remission, you might think a hospice and its connotations would be something she’d want to steer clear of.

But Saint Francis Hospice – somewhere Chris describes as “jolly” – isn’t just about end-of-life care.

Chris goes to the monthly carers’ drop-in session, mostly “for emotional support” – though, she adds, “listening to other carers, my situation is really easy”.

Her husband, who is recovering from pancreatic cancer, visits more regularly – once a week.

“Mike goes to the hospice day unit weekly for a social morning with others in his situation, and lunch.

“He can have massage, reflexology and other alternative therapies if he wishes, and also occupational therapy.

“He does painting while others make cards and do silk scarf painting, et cetera.”

Chris adds: “It’s great – he looks forward to it.

“You don’t go in there and die, you go in there and get support - it’s a much jollier place than you think.”

Collier Row pensioner Beverley Simmonds relies a lot more heavily on support from the hospice – but like Chris she’s full of praise for the Havering-atte-Bower centre.

Caring for husband Michael, 69, involves helping him get up in the mornings and driving him around.

“Virtually everything has changed” since he was diagnosed three years ago with Multiple System Atrophy, a condition Beverley describes as “Parkinson’s with extras”.

“He’s losing his voice - he was always a chatterbox so that frustrates him,” she says.

“He can’t drive anymore so I have to drive everywhere. It’s not quite the same.

“We used to love our holidays. We can’t go on holidays any more – he doesn’t like to be too far from home.”

Again, the support provided by the hospice goes far further than you might expect.

“They really do see that if they look after the carers, there’s somebody to look after the patient,” she says.

“I’ve got nothing but praise for them.”

Both Beverley and Chris reserve special praise for hospice staff Briony Townsend and Sandy Lawless, who run the carers’ drop-in sessions they find so helpful.

Nobody wants to be in a situation where they have to turn to hospice care, but Saint Francis Hospice can be there to offer support - in more ways than you might imagine.

Beverley sums it up: “It’s tough, but Saint Francis are very good.”

• This week (June 9-15) is Carers Week, a seven-day campaign aimed at raising awareness about the lives of carers.

Read more:

St Francis 30for30: Mall manager hot foots it for charity

St Francis 30for30: Raise funds by throwing a party

St Francis 30for30: Havering v Barking and Dagenham in student catwalk challenge

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Ilford Recorder visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Ilford Recorder staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Ilford Recorder account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest News Stories

Yesterday, 15:00
Lisanne George, 11, Evie Mahoney, 12, Rochelle Pearce, 12, and Erin Walsh, 12, from the Ilford Sea Rangers, pictured after winning the national Cadet Dolphin Challenge. Picture: Ilford Sea Rangers

Talented members of a youth organisation have taken home the top prize in an annual competition.

Yesterday, 12:00
Bonny Cannon, 75, found her old friends on facebook at met up last week. They all lived on Victoria Road which was demolished in the 70s.

An Internet-savvy pensioner’s work to trace her childhood chums has paid off.

Yesterday, 10:00
As TfL are taking over the London Liverpool Street to Shenfield line, it will now appear on the Tube map.

Train services from Shenfield to London Liverpool Street will be run by TfL from May 31.

Sunday, May 24, 2015
Rev Santou Beurklian-Carter, Assistant Priest of St Mary's Church speaking at St Mary's South Woodford Church

A priest has called for the church to help lift the taboo on talking about death and funerals.

Most read news

Competitions

You could take in stunning views of London over brunch at the Sky Garden

Celebrate lighter, brighter days with the chance of winning an indulgent brunch for two with a bottle of bubbles at Darwin, the cool and casual brasserie 36 floors up at Sky Garden.

Time to experience the dizzy heights of London's tallest attraction!

Morgan Pryce, commercial property experts based in London are offering one lucky reader the chance to win a pair of tickets to The Shard viewing platform in the city itself.

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Ilford Recorder e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24


Our trusted business finder