Light Up A Life keeps Alison’s memory alive and allows husband Peter to thank St Catherine’s Hospice at Christmas
A husband whose wife loved the beautiful lights in the grounds of St Catherine’s Hospice is paying tribute to her this Christmas with a meaningful Light Up A Life dedication.
Alison Pullen was cared for at the Lostock Hall hospice and her husband Peter recalls how they would sit under the pergola in the gardens, and how Alison loved to see it lit up each night before she went to sleep.
During the festive season, St Catherine’s Park is decorated with Christmas lights which shine brightly in memory of people’s loved ones, and Peter says that making a poignant Light Up A Life dedication is a fitting way to honour his wife at this special time of year.
“I used to take her for walks in the grounds in her wheelchair,” Peter said. “She enjoyed sitting under the pergola and she wouldn’t go to sleep until she’d seen the lights come on at night. Seeing all of the gardens lit up at Christmas really reminds me of that time we had together at St Catherine’s.
“I think about her every day, but Light Up A Life is a nice way to keep her memory alive and to give back to the charity which helped us. I look at her name in the Light Up A Life Remembrance Book and see all the other names of people who are being remembered in this way.”
Alison and Peter met when they worked for Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service; Peter as a firefighter and Alison in the control room. She re-trained as a nurse before retiring aged 60 in October 2016, and was sadly diagnosed with kidney cancer a month later.
Alison first visited St Catherine’s as an outpatient, attending a clinic run by the hospice’s medical director, Dr Andrew Fletcher. She received help with pain control and was managing her condition at home for a few months with Peter’s support.
But when she began struggling with her mobility – including suffering a fall and breaking her arm – and her pain became less manageable, a stay on the hospice in-patient unit was suggested.
Peter, 76, from Walton-le-Dale, said: “Alison really welcomed that; she had found Dr Fletcher’s clinic really helpful so she wasn’t worried.”
Alison was a keen jogger and cyclist – at one time she ran marathons and regularly pedalled Preston’s Guild Wheel – and she also enjoyed weekly Zumba and pilates classes. Although she could no longer do activities like that, it was important to Alison to be able to spend time outdoors and have some independence, which St Catherine’s helped with.
“She was in a lot of pain at home when her medication started to wear off; she really was in agony,” Peter said. “She wasn’t eating very well and she didn’t have the energy to do much other than watch TV and read.
“But she felt a lot better at the hospice because they got her medication under control, so she was much more comfortable and was eating better. She was so much brighter and I was happier too because it was a great relief to see her more like herself again, and we didn’t have to worry about getting her medication right.
“St Catherine’s is a wonderful place and the staff are lovely. We didn’t have an unhappy day there. Alison’s favourite spot was under the pergola where we would sit and talk for hours, and it meant a lot to her to be able to enjoy some time outdoors. It really lifted her spirits.”
Alison died at the hospice in June 2017, and Peter has made a Light Up A Life dedication in her memory every year since.
- Tributes are welcome in honour of anyone – not only those who have experienced the specialist palliative and end-of-life care of St Catherine’s – and donations help the charity to support patients and families at the hospice and in their own homes at Christmas and into the New Year. There’s still time to make a dedication; please click here or call 01772 629171.
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