Elaine Butlin pulled out all the stops to re-arrange her wedding so that her mum could be by her side on the special day.
Prema Taylor was receiving care from St Catherine’s at home in the lead-up to the big day, and was worried she wouldn’t be well enough to attend the celebration.
Elaine and her fiancé David had moved the nuptials forward following Prema’s shock cancer diagnosis, and our specialist nurses carefully adapted her medication in the days before the wedding to ensure she could enjoy the special occasion with her beloved family – including her husband Matt and granddaughter Ella.
“I couldn’t imagine getting married without my mum there,” Elaine said. “St Catherine’s made sure she could be with us and feel well enough to enjoy it, and that meant so, so much to us all. They tailored her medication a week before so she could be at her absolute best on the day. She looked fabulous and just loved every minute; she was absolutely glowing and it really meant the world to us.”
The couple tied the knot at Brockholes Nature Reserve in November last year, with Prema reading a poem during the ceremony.
“It was an emotional day but it was wonderful, and we’ve got such precious memories,” Elaine said. “Two weeks later she was admitted to the hospice and she loved telling all the nurses about the day and showing them photos on her iPad. It made her so happy to look back on the pictures and tell everyone all the details.”
Prema grew up in India and worked for British Aerospace before settling in Preston and dedicating 23 years to a career as a Legal Executive. She was a well-known member of the Fulwood community, volunteering and campaigning for various causes over many years, including Age Concern and the Relate counselling agency, and at her local St Catherine’s charity shop.
A keen gardener and a great host, she supported the Fulwood Garden Open Day and helped arrange other community events such as street parties, as well as co-founding the Friends of Harris Park group to preserve the area from development; even campaigning from her bed at the hospice.
Prema was diagnosed with cancer after initially experiencing stomach pains in late 2020, and was found to have a tumour in her bowel which had spread to her liver. She sadly died on January 4, aged 62.
“She underwent chemotherapy and radiotherapy, but by July 2021 we were told she only had six or eight months,” Elaine said. “The news completely floored us, although Mum stayed unbelievably strong and kept a positive outlook throughout it all. She had weekly home visits from her St Catherine’s Clinical Nurse Specialist, Karen Burdett, who she liked very much and who helped to alleviate any worries she had about going into the hospice.
“She was there for five weeks, and my dad and I visited daily. She was deteriorating fast but was kept calm and comfortable by the experienced and skilled staff. We got her a radio to play relaxing classical music by her bedside and my daughter drew some Christmas pictures to decorate her room.
“She had a view of a little outside space with planters and a bird table, and she watched carol singers and a brass band outside her room during the lovely Light Up A Life services. There were Christmas trees dotted around the place, and in the grounds outside there were so many beautiful lights.”
Veterinary receptionist Elaine, who also lives in Fulwood and has inherited her mum’s love of gardening, said: “It’s been hard talking about all of this, but I know Mum would be proud of me for sharing her story with others to help raise awareness of the hospice. David and I also took part in the Moonlight and Memories Walk to pay tribute to her and raised £740. Mum always looked on the bright side and never complained about anything, and she’d want me to stay connected with St Catherine’s and do my bit to help.”
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