Search

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

16:04 16 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.”

• Last week (June 9-15) was 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 Romford 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 Romford 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 Romford 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 Romford News Stories

Reporters Hayley Anderson and Ann-Marie Abbasah at the Havering Show.

From wrestling and BMX tricks to star acts and fair ground rides, the first day of the Havering Show had it all.

15:00
Romford playwright Dan Murphy will open a festival in Havering with a performance of his play Skinny Legs. Picture:Arnaud Stephenson

The thought-provoking work of a young playwright will open a festival of fresh and innovative plays in Havering.

40-years-ago

A look back at the biggest local stories from this week 20, 40 and 60 years ago.

08:02
Jocelyn Brown will be headling at the Havering Show. Photo: PA Archive/PA Images

The Havering Show kicks off from 11am today at Harrow Lodge Park, Hornchurch, with a line-up featuring something for everyone.

Yesterday, 15:00
Our reporter Matt Clemenson with Keith Prince and Peter McNaught, Operational Director of the Bakerloo, Central and Victoria Lines on board the first official Night Tube from Kings Cross station.

Last weekend, Reporter Matthew Clemenson joined Havering’s London Assembly member Keith Prince on a tour of the new 24-hour service. Here is his full account.

Yesterday, 15:00
Rom Valley Way Car Park in Romford

Supermarket chain Morrisons has confirmed that it has sold the car park site opposite Queen’s Hospital to a global real estate company.

Yesterday, 12:00
Meditation class at the Thames Chase Forest Centre, with John London

“We all have thoughts and worries about yesterday, today and tomorrow.

Yesterday, 12:00
Johanna Higgs

After losing one of her twins in the womb, new mum Johanna Higgs said she couldn’t even look at daughter Gemma. Chloe Farand speaks to her about the devastating reality of postpartum psychosis and her recovery

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

News from your area

WW100

Click on the banner above for full coverage of the centenary commemorations of the outbreak of the First World War.

Competitions

You could win £15,000 to spend on either their mortgage or a deposit towards the home of their dreams

Wouldn’t it be lovely to have a period of time when you simply don’t have to worry about finding the money each month to pay your mortgage? When you don’t have to put money aside from your monthly income, or worry about having to afford other essential outgoings?

Which book character do you share cleaning habits with?

Whether you have more in common with put-upon Cinderella, emotionally turbulent Jane Eyre, or easily distracted Mole, you’re sure to appreciate that one lucky winner will receive four sessions of free cleaning. Enter our quiz for your chance to win. All runners up will get £10 off their first clean when making a repeat booking.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Romford Recorder
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now