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

58 minutes ago
Jobs in education are available at jobs24.co.uk Picture: PA Images

Looking for work in the education sector? There are currently 12 positions available in Romford on Jobs24.

Yesterday, 15:00
Cast members from the community musical Our House rehearsing at Queens Theatre, Hornchurch

A community musical is bringing together music-lovers from all walks of life in a wild and hilarious show set in north London in the eighties.

Yesterday, 12:00
Russell Triggs jumping out of a plane to fund his daughter's operation

The thought of his daughter gave a father the courage to jump out of a plane to raise funds for an operation to help her walk.

Yesterday, 10:00
Maureen and Raymond Fisher follow his dad Jacks guidance on how to make the perfect brew

Top classified information about how to make the perfect brew has at last been shared by the owner of Romford’s oldest cafe.

Saturday, June 25, 2016
Amanda Poll competes in Summer of Sound

Hundreds gathered to watch musicians fill a Romford mall with song on Saturday as the latest round of Summer of Sound saw eight contestants selected for the next heat.

Saturday, June 25, 2016
Snake found Havering Police on Monday  Credit: @MPSHavering

Police are trying to trace the owner of a pet snake discovered on the loose.

Saturday, June 25, 2016
Aiden Mahony, known to friends as Oggy, was stabbed in January

A man accused of stabbing a football fan to death in a Hornchurch pub will face a retrial, after the jury failed to reach a verdict yesterday (Friday).

Friday, June 24, 2016
Time FM Steve Allen.

Brexit, floods and homework were the topics debated in this week’s Time 107.5FM paper review today.

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

£15k prize bundle

Imagine having the opportunity to win an incredible £15,000 bundle of some of the most amazing prizes available. Well, for one lucky contest entrant that dream could soon become a reality because we at MyOffers are offering an incredible free prize bundle that will make even the most hardened person wild with excitement.

Win a BMW 1 series

There are fewer cars currently on the market more stylish and exciting than the BMW. Known all over the world as one of the best car manufacturers, the BMW is renowned for sleek designs and fantastic high quality workmanship.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Romford Recorder
e-edition today

Subscribe