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Ashgate Hospice > Grandfather backs Ashgate Hospice’s Christmas Appeal in memory of wife who died in peace during festive season

Spending precious time with loved ones during the Christmas period was so special to Glennis Richmond and her family as she neared the end of her life.

Last December, Glennis, from Chesterfield, was admitted to Ashgate Hospice’s Inpatient Unit after being told her cancer could not be cured.

The festive period has always been a special time of year for the Richmonds, so for Glennis to have one last celebration with her husband Mick, their children, grandkids, and great grandkids was important.

Ashgate’s nursing team went “above and beyond” to bring some Christmas magic to her – from decorating her room with a Christmas tree and lights to wrapping her up so she could watch the hospice’s Light up a Life ceremony in the gardens.

Sadly, Glennis didn’t make it to Christmas, and she died just days before, but Mick says her final days were peaceful and free from pain, surrounded by those people she treasured the most.

“I’ll never forget walking into the hospice for the first time,” said husband Mick. “It was coming up to Christmas and the whole place was decorated and sparkling.

“The nurses and healthcare assistants were just brilliant. They knew straight away how to get Glennis’ pain under control, and soon after she was able to sit up and talk.

“Glennis always loved Christmas. When she got her diagnosis, we knew this would be her last, so we wanted to make it special.

“The hospice took us all under their wing in those final weeks – and they gave us precious time that was as special as it could possibly have been.

“In those final days, we were all able to be with her in her room at the hospice. We were hoping for one last Christmas Day together, but she couldn’t quite make it. She died a week or so before, but most importantly she was at peace.”

Glennis was told she had nine months to a year to live when she was given the devastating news last summer that she had a growth on her kidney.

Her son Matthew made the decision to bring forward his wedding to 29th December in the hope that his mum would be able to make it.

Sadly, Glennis died at the hospice, aged 75, just under two weeks short of the wedding day.

Mick added: “We were married for 55 years. Glennis was always the leader; always in charge; always having the last word – and always putting us first.

“We were all absolutely devastated when we heard the the news; I was gobsmacked how she dealt with it – she was very brave, just accepted it and said let’s do the best we can and make the most of what we’ve got.

“As it turned out, she only got a few months, but tried to do as much as possible, to spend as much time together as we could.

“Even my son brought his wedding day forward in the hopes that she could be there.

“Sadly, her pain worsened and became unbearable, so when the doctor from Ashgate suggested that we come into the hospice to help control it – Glennis agreed.

“It sounds strange, but I have such happy memories of her in the hospice, because I knew she was safe, with the care she needed. Honestly, we couldn’t have asked for anything better.”

One year on, the family are supporting Ashgate’s Christmas Appeal, so the hospice can go the extra mile for other families this winter.

Mick is urging people to back the campaign to help the hospice raise the £9 million it needs every year – over and above NHS funding – in order to pay for its vital care.

“We all got together – as we did every year – on Boxing Day,” added Mick. “It was all very different without her, so soon after she’d gone. We all missed her – and we realised how much work it was without her there in charge!

“This Christmas, we’ll make sure we keep the tradition alive. We’ll be together, raise a glass to a much-loved wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother.

“I miss her every day, but the family have kept me going. I know my Glennis would never give up; I’m not going to either.

“I cannot tell you the gratitude we have for Ashgate Hospice – and all the staff and volunteers who make it such a warm, happy, caring place.

“We never know when someone we love will need Ashgate’s care. I urge anyone who can to join me and my family in supporting this amazing charity this Christmas – so that others can have the same special care and time together this winter.”

To support us, please visit the Ashgate Hospice’s Christmas Appeal webpage or call 01246 567250.