A son has spoken of his gratitude for ‘the gift of St Catherine’s Hospice’ which helped his mum for many years.
Viv Watmough was supported through the charity’s befriending service for seven years, and her son Darren has told what a difference it made to her quality of life and mental wellbeing.
“My mum was an incredibly social woman, and the restrictions of her illness frustrated her so much, especially when they made it harder to spend time with people,” Darren said. “St Catherine’s gave her a valuable social outlet, and she made a real friend in her befriender Pat. Her weekly visits shone light in Mum’s often gloomy times; she looked forward to them enormously.”
Viv suffered from a number of conditions which limited her mobility, including emphysema (a lung disease which affects her breathing and required her to be on oxygen), and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).
Carers would call in four times a day, but it was through the St Catherine’s befriending scheme that Viv was able to take part in social activities with hospice volunteer Pat Nagle. The befriending service sees trained volunteers spending a couple of hours a week in people’s homes to provide company to those with life-shortening illnesses, and offer full-time carers a break.
Knowing his mum was kept company in between his visits also provided reassurance and comfort to Darren himself.
“Mum lived alone in Coppull and I worked and lived more than an hour’s drive away. I visited at weekends and rang her in the evenings, but it was difficult for other family members to visit and as her friends slowly became older and less mobile, Mum became increasingly isolated.
“Knowing that she had Pat’s visits – where they chatted, did jigsaws and crosswords, and went out for short strolls using her wheelchair – was really helpful to us both. Our nightly chats and my weekly visits were full of what mum had done with Pat and what they’d talked about.”
Darren added: “The gift of the hospice really helped improve the quality of life my mum had, and I will always be grateful for the opportunities St Catherine’s gave to her. I hope many more people will receive its support when they need it, and continue to support this worthwhile local cause which helps people in so many different – and sometimes unexpected – ways.”
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