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“The care Mum received from Ashgate Hospice at the end of her life was the closest we could have experienced to being at home – it was exceptional.”
Family meant everything to Annie Luke, so having her loved ones by her side before she died at Ashgate Hospice just over two years ago was so important to her.
Having been diagnosed with glioblastoma – an aggressive form of cancer – just months before, Annie died on 26th August 2020, aged 72.
She had been receiving care at home from Ashgate’s Palliative Care Specialist Nurses before spending her final days at the hospice’s Inpatient Unit in Old Brampton, Chesterfield.
Her daughter, Ali Faulkner-Luke (left), calls her mum a “unique” person, who “had the biggest heart and saw the good in everybody”.
She says Ashgate gave her family the space and respect to be together, whilst Annie’s care needs were managed with respect and dignity.
“Mum was a feisty Glaswegian who at just 5ft and half an inch – that half-inch was very important – was our very own small but mighty force,” said 50-year-old teacher, Ali.
“Her enthusiasm for everything in life was recognised by everyone; she had the ability to bring a room to life and make everyone feel special.
“Losing Mum has left a huge void in the lives of all of those she touched, but her love lives on through us all and we have a lifetime of memories to cherish.
“Ashgate helped us come together as a family and we used the time we had with her to make those memories wherever possible.
“Mum was cared for during the pandemic and visiting restrictions were still in place. It meant so much to us that Mum had a private room which led onto a patio so that family could be at the doorway, and she knew that they were there.
“The dedication of the staff and the care that mum received was just second-to-none.”
Annie, who worked as a social worker, had been married to John for 52 years, after they met in Manchester in the late 1960s before moving to Buxton in the early noughties.
As well as Ali, she had another daughter, Jen, grandchildren Ben, Beth and Charlee, son-in-law Steve (Jacko), daughter-in-law Ange and granddaughter in-law Lucy.
Following Annie’s death, a tribute fund for family and friends to make donations in memory of her has been launched to help raise funds for the hospice.
Now, Ali and family are supporting the charity’s Light Up a Life campaign this winter.
Ali, from Cumbria, added: “We’re so grateful that she was able to spend her last moments in such a calm, peaceful and private environment like Ashgate Hospice.
“The support she received was just so personal and we will continue to fundraise as our way of saying thank you.
“My sister Jen and I were blessed to have such a loving mum who always put us first, was our moral compass and taught us the true meaning of loving and loved.
“She supported all our decisions in life and loved unconditionally. Ashgate Hospice’s Light Up a Life celebration will be a fitting way to remember her life. I feel humbled to be able to share Mum’s story and dedicate a lantern in her memory.”
For the first time, Ashgate is inviting people to dedicate a special lantern to their loved ones which can be personalised and displayed at home.
There is also the option to join hundreds of others in a lantern procession to the hospice on the evening of Sunday 4th December.
Once at the hospice, everyone will all come together for a special remembrance event in the beautifully lit garden, where there will be time to reflect, as well as gentle music and refreshments.