“My dad stayed on the hospice’s ward for a week before he died. That week’s stay was, for us as a family, a relief. He died with dignity which we can’t thank them enough for. But it wasn’t just the way they treated him, it was the way they treated his friends and family too – especially my mum," said Matt.
"Without them, we wouldn't have had the knowledge we needed to support him. We wouldn’t have been able to get the benefits he deserved, or the equipment that he needed at home. As a family, they were the key things we needed.
“Some of the team from Ashgate Hospice came to our house and explained to my mum and dad what services were available to us. The Hospice at Home team would come and help my mum so she could have a break from caring and sit down for 10 minutes to have a cup of tea. When you’re a 24 hour carer, it’s quite difficult to find 10 minutes just to sit down so that helped her a lot.
“My dad couldn’t get upstairs so the Occupational Therapists gave us a hospital bed for the house which was amazing. It made him more comfortable because he could stay at home where he wanted to be. Knowing that he was comfortable made a massive difference to our family.
“The services were there if you needed them. If you wanted to speak to a nurse or bereavement or the chaplain then the offer was there. But if you didn’t want to then that’s your choice. The choice is there and that’s the main thing.
“If you had to pay for all of the services yourself, at a time when your family probably aren’t earning the money you need to live, could you afford it if Ashgate Hospice care wasn’t here? We couldn’t. Without Ashgate, I would hate to think that my dad wouldn’t have been treated with the same level of dignity at the end like he was.
“That’s why I decided to raise funds for Ashgate. We raised over £15,000 in 18 months – not by doing anything drastic but by getting the community to realise what’s on offer and what they might need one day.
"Everybody thinks ‘No we won’t need it’, but will you? How do you know that? Unfortunately nobody knows what the future holds and if it’s not here, you will regret it.”