Hear from people who have kindly left gifts in their Wills
St Leonard’s Hospice is so dear to my heart – I even met my husband Ken there while I was volunteering!
For more than 20 years I have supported St Leonard’s by raising money and by volunteering. I have undertaken various roles but the most rewarding is as a bereavement support volunteer. The training was intensive and at times draining but well worth it. Since then, I have given one to one support to several hundred bereaved people over the years. Without exception, all of them have been so very grateful for the support offered to their loved one and to themselves at a time when they needed it the most.
My Will contains a gift for St Leonard’s. I hope I never need the care of the Hospice but I want to ensure its future for others who do.
My husband, Ray Prytherch, attended the Sunflower Centre at St Leonard’s Hospice for much of the year before he died. The Centre was relatively new then but I had heard of its existence and its mission to provide an outpatient service both to the ill and to their families. We went along, not quite sure what to expect. Ray had several rare degenerative conditions about which the medics knew very little and for which there was no treatment and no cure. Ray could not speak, he had little fine dexterity and difficulty swallowing. The staff at the Sunflower Centre were amazing. There was practical advice from Ruth, the occupational therapist, and Jenny, the senior social worker.
There were therapeutic treatments for both of us to help us feel better physically and emotionally. There were art projects; Carol helped Ray to paint a lovely silk scarf that I wore to his funeral. There was coffee and chat; Ray couldn’t chat back but he could smile his appreciation. And there was the weekly bath when Ray emerged much cleaner than I could get him at home. A few months after Ray died I began to work as a volunteer gardener at the Hospice. It is heart-warming to me still, that the staff at the Centre remember us both.
A few months ago I moved house and my solicitor recommended that I make a new Will. I have left a specific gift to St Leonard’s Hospice so that they can continue to provide their excellent care and support to other terminally ill patients and to their families
Liz Thistleton – Housekeeping Manager, St Leonard’s Hospice
I have worked at St Leonard’s for 18 years now and have always said our patients don’t choose to be in the Hospice and none of us know whether we will ever need it. Little did I think that one day my family would be in such need.
We are a big, close, happy family of 8 siblings and when my sister Lynn was admitted to the Hospice in 2011 it was a blow to us all. Despite being part of the Hospice team, I was still amazed by the brilliant care she received. Along with expert clinical care, the Hospice environment made a big difference too. Lynn loved gardening, so looking out from her room onto gardens and fields helped to make her final days peaceful and happy. What more can you ask for? It was a comfort to us all.
My family and I do all we can to support St Leonard’s in the present, but I also want to make sure the Hospice is here in the future– to help those who may need its special care. So although my husband and I already had Wills, we decided to update them and include a gift to St Leonard’s Hospice.
I had first-hand experience of St Leonard’s Hospice when it was still relatively new. My mother was looked after by the wonderful people at St Leonard’s over Christmas 1989. It doesn’t seem 30 years ago.
I was working away at the time but travelled up every weekend and that Christmas spent at the Hospice was one of the best I have had – unusual perhaps but true, and all down to the nursing staff and volunteers. They made a dreadful experience for this only child much more bearable.
I have made a bequest to St Leonard’s in my Will. This is something that many people maybe don’t want to address, but we never know what is around the corner and for which of us their services will be so vital. Excellent and sensitive care when needed is becoming more and more necessary and if you can; do leave a sum to help. If you have no Will, no one will be able to act on your wishes.
Both my mum and my partner died in St Leonard’s Hospice, so I have seen the wonderful care the Hospice provides. Excellent, specialist care is enhanced by the beautiful surroundings and calm atmosphere. My positive experience of, and connection to St Leonard’s, prompted me to become a volunteer; as a receptionist, I now provide a warm welcome to visitors alternate Sundays.
I have decided to include St Leonard’s in my Will for two reasons. Firstly, in memory of my loved ones and as a thank you for the exceptional care they received. Secondly, to minimise the amount of inheritance tax payable as all gifts in Wills are tax free. Plus, it makes me feel very proud to think that I will still be helping other local people after my death.
Only six months after my Dad had died in St Catherine’s Hospice, my husband, David, was given a terminal diagnosis and admitted to St Leonard’s Hospice. He died there two weeks later.
There are no words which could adequately describe the care both he and I (and our son) received from the angels (because that’s how I see them) at St Leonard’s. During the two weeks David was in the Hospice he said several times, this is costing a lot, they need money here. And this is why, since then, I have always been keen to support any fundraising efforts organised by St Leonard’s. I am a regular giver, and it’s why I became a volunteer. It will be no surprise to anyone that alongside my family, both St Leonard’s and St Catherine’s Hospices are remembered in my Will.