Widow's plea to dig deep to aid hospice


Rhian Waller

SUPPORTERS of a beleaguered hospice are calling for people to dig deep and donate.

Last week it was announced that St Kentigern was facing significant cashflow problems, threatening staff and beds.

Now politicians and families of former patients are seeking financial help to deal with a £300,000 shortfall in funds.

Denise Casey, 53, of Old Colwyn in Conwy, has been involved with St Kentigern since her husband died in the hospice two years ago.

She said: “They were absolutely wonderful there, right to the end and I’ve kept in touch with them ever since. They were fantastic. I can’t praise them enough.”

Mrs Casey’s husband Meirion, who was only 50 when he died, was suffering from a rare form of cancer when he started attending St Kentigern as a day patient.
When he deteriorated, he chose to stay in the hospice and spent the last two weeks of his life there.

Mrs Casey, whose family has fundraised by taking part in the Santa run, by doing parachute jumps and the three peaks challenge, attends the social club every week, buys her Christmas cards from the hospice and takes part in the lottery.

She said: “You think of a hospice as somewhere you don’t want to be, but I can’t describe what a lovely place it is. I don’t think we will ever lose contact with them. It has become part of our lives.

“It’s really sad that they have come to this and I hope they can sort something out. It’s such a vital part of the community and I don’t know what we would have done without it.”

Mrs Casey now wants to volunteer in the day patient unit, and she said she encouraged people to support the hospice.

Mark Isherwood, AM for North Wales, said he was disappointed to learn that the hospice was in difficulty and may have to make staff redundant.

He said: “Independent Welsh hospices like St Kentigern provide quality residential and day care, respite, palliative care and care in the home at a lower cost than the NHS, and yet receive the poorest level of state funding in the UK.

“I have been told by independent hospices that current Welsh Government funding arrangements can still be a lottery for them. Hospice funding should be a priority.”
Mr Isherwood is now calling for significant state investments to be made to hospices like St Kentigern.

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