Colin’s special last Christmas thanks to Hospiscare

Colin Long and his family on Christmas Day 2016.

Colin Long and his family on Christmas Day 2016. - Credit: Archant

A Devon charity is appealing for help to give people with terminal illnesses the best possible Christmas.

Hospiscare is launching its festive appeal with the story of Colin Long, who was admitted to the hospice ward in Exeter a few days before Christmas last year with terminal lung cancer.

Colin knew it would be his last Christmas and so he really wanted to spend the day at his daughter and son-in-law Penny and Keiron’s home in Exmouth, joined by his son Roland, his wife Rachel and all the grandchildren, Heather, Matthew, Thomas and Anna.

The doctors weren’t sure whether Colin was well enough to go, but on Christmas morning they said he could and the nurses sprang into action, making sure that Colin and his family had everything they needed to make sure he would be safe and pain-free, so they could just enjoy being a family on Christmas Day for the last time.

Colin’s partner, Patience, said: “Despite the circumstances, it was a happy day, a precious memory. We had a traditional Christmas, exchanging presents and enjoying a turkey with all the trimmings. Colin loved his family deeply and was very proud of them, and I think the photo shows how much it meant to him to be home with them that day. It was very special for us, too, to have him there.”

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Colin wanted to go again on Boxing Day, but was not well enough, so Hospiscare staff allowed his family to bring Boxing Day to him at the hospice.

Patience added: “When I look back on last Christmas I think it was the best Christmas it could have been, and Hospiscare went overboard to make it happen.

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“Over the following days, the hospice was Colin’s safe haven. With his pain and other symptoms under control he felt well.

“Sadly, a few weeks later, Colin’s life drew to a close. It was a very peaceful end, with his family surrounding him once more – exactly as he would have wished.”

Hospiscare director of care Tina Naldrett added: “Of course, some patients are too poorly to go home for Christmas and so we make sure the hospice is happy, homely and as peaceful as possible for everyone who will be with us over the festive period.”

To support the Hospiscare Christmas appeal visit or call 01392 688020 to make a donation.

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