A woman who has seen first-hand the amazing work done at a hospice has backed an appeal to raise £6m to build a new facility.
Vicki Neve, from Ryhall, was overwhelmed by the support given to her mum Jane Brader by staff at Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall.
The hospice near Peterborough, which offers specialist end of life care for people from across Stamford, Rutland, Bourne and the Deepings has launched a drive to raise £6m.
The money will go towards building a new hospice with up to 20 private bedrooms next to Thorpe Hall as the listed building cannot be modernised to meet the needs of the hospice.
Mrs Brader, from Stamford, was at Thorpe Hall for eight days before she died in May last year, aged 65.
She had previously been treated at Papworth Hospital in Cambridgeshire for a lung condition, pulmonary hypertension, but when doctors decided they could do no more, she was referred to Thorpe Hall.
During her last days, her daughters Vicki and Sarah-Jayne Kirkwood and husband Mal were regular visitors.
Vicki, 40, said: “What could have been quite a traumatic passing for my mum was actually really dignified and the staff helped us to cope with the worst time in our lives. They were absolutely amazing.”
Vicki, who works as an administrative assistant, said the little things made a huge difference like freshly-cooked food and being able to visit at all hours of the day and night.
She added: “When we were children and we used to drive past Thorpe Hall, I remember my mum saying ‘that’s the place you go to die’ so when she was sent there, it was our worst nightmare come true.
“But that couldn’t have been further from the truth. Being at Thorpe Hall made such a difference at such a terrible time.
“It was like being at home but with the medical professionals around you.”
Urging people to get behind the fundraising, Vicki said: “Anything that can be done to improve someone’s last days should be done. Private rooms will just make such a huge difference to families.”
Vicki’s friend James Clipston, of Tobias Grove, Stamford, is running the London Marathon later this month in aid of the appeal. James said: “This fundraising appeal is going to make Thorpe Hall a better place to spend your final days.
“It is such a worthwhile cause. There are not many people in this area who have not had their lives impacted in some way by Sue Ryder.”
Thorpe Hall has provided free, specialist hospice care across the area, including for patients from Stamford, Rutland and Bourne, for more than 20 years.
It also provides pre and post bereavement services to help families come to terms with what is happening to their loved ones.
But the building is Grade I listed, which means the charity can’t make the necessary modifications to the building.
In the new building every patient will have a private room. At the moment much-needed beds are left empty when shared rooms, which have two or three beds in, have to be sealed off to contain infection.
There will also be a space for relatives to stay over, as well as a raft of improvements to make life easier for staff.
The gardens at Thorpe Hall are beautiful but difficult for patients to access with many of the paths covered in gravel.
The new landscaped gardens will be easier to access.
All the new rooms will have patio doors allowing easy access to the terrace and the new landscaped gardens which will have paths suitable for wheelchairs.
Planning permission for the hospice has already been approved by Peterborough City Council and English Heritage has also given its backing.
People are being urged to get involved with fundraising events or organise their own to help hit the £6m target.
Already planned is the Peterborough Starlight Hike, a 10k walk at 8pm on Sunday, May 26, at Peterborough Greyhound Stadium and a women’s shopping extravaganza at the hospice in October.
If you’re planning an event, call our newsdesk on 01780 750436 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.