Jenny’s partner Martin suffered from tonsil cancer and was in our In-Patient Unit for nine weeks in late spring 2023. The length of Martin’s stay and his chatty nature meant that he and Jenny got to know many of our staff well during his peaceful last few months.


Caring for Martin for 23 years

“I met Martin when he moved onto the estate where I live. That was 25 years ago. I was his carer for 23 of those years. It was only supposed to be for six months. I thought the doctor had got somebody else to take over caring for Martin, then he said, “No, Martin won’t be here in six months’ time.” He had a lot of health problems, but he fought and fought. He already had diabetes when I first knew him. Most of the time I did his insulin for him but he could do it himself if he had to. So many times we thought we’d lost him, but he wasn’t ready to go.

‘Cheeky chappy’

“Martin lost his leg through a motoring accident. That was a big, big blow because he’d always been so active and worked outside. His life changed completely, but he still kept all his friends, and made more and more as the years went on. He was very popular. And he still managed to get out and about. He thought he’d come to the Hospice just for pain relief; he didn’t realise. He was in hospital for two weeks and they said there was no more they could do for him, for the pain. The Hospice isn’t somewhere you expect to go home from but he very nearly made it a couple of times. In the end this was the best place for him. He was a cheeky chappy and he got on well with everybody. It was just like being at home because all his friends and family visited. He saw people that he hadn’t seen for a long time. There were quite a lot of us sometimes, but he had a balcony so people would sit out there.

Jelly and Ice cream

“When he decided he wasn’t eating meals, he always had his jelly and ice cream. That was always there for him, even if it wasn’t dinner time. The staff even got him a pint of lager as well, which he enjoyed. The Hospice was much nicer than I thought it would be. Everybody was so friendly and they couldn’t do enough for us. He preferred being sat with the nurses, even though he had a lovely room. He didn’t like being on his own. When he was bedridden, they wheeled his bed up to the nurses’ station so that he could still be in his favourite place.

Martin was a very good artist

“Martin was a very good artist. Martin enjoyed going to the Creative Time sessions at the Hospice, and I brought some of his drawings along to show the group. He’d lost the use of his hands, more or less, so one of the social work assistants was his hands. If she did anything wrong, he’d tell her! And she did exactly as he said. That was the last piece of art he made, and he presented it to me at the end.



“We were made very welcome here. I can’t describe how it how it made us feel because everybody at the Hospice was so helpful. People always had time for us. It wasn’t like being in hospital – it was so much calmer. It was upsetting for the staff, as well as us, when Martin passed. They were so genuine. Everybody played an important part in his last weeks – the nurses, physios, social workers therapists and volunteers.


“It was just the nicest way that he could have gone because we were all with him. He was calm and pain-free at the end, so I’m pleased about that. He didn’t want to go and we didn’t want him to, but when it’s your time, it’s your time.”


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