Brother and sister Matt (18) and Becca (21) from Illogan near Redruth weren’t planning to spend Christmas in a hospice last year and they certainly didn’t believe they would enjoy such an experience. No-one expected their Dad John to live long enough to see the festivities of 2013 but when he did the Cornwall Hospice Care team at St Julia’s Hospice in Hayle made it a Christmas to remember. Now Matt and Becca are sharing their experience as part of the charity’s 12 month long story telling project.   

John was diagnosed with a brain tumour and was cared for on a number of occasions at St Julia’s Hospice in Hayle, one of the two hospices run by the charity. Sadly he died earlier this year but after the family had experienced a final Christmas together, as Matt explains;

“We just didn’t expect to have this last Christmas together and when we got closer to the day we started to get scared at the thought of being in a hospice for the festivities. Don’t get me wrong, we loved St. Julia’s and we even called it hospice sweet hospice, but it was just the thought of being there on such a special occasion. We needn’t have worried because we had a lovely day. Father Christmas got to the hospice before us, so all our presents were in Daddy’s room and we were able to open them with him.”

As Becca explains, there was more excitement later in the day;

“The staff told us that they had prepared a special family Christmas meal for us as a surprise and had set out a table for us in a separate room. We all felt very special as we sat down together even though Daddy nearly fell asleep in his pudding!  Then in the afternoon when they brought the tea trolley round they offered him sherry and I have a lovely picture of him in bed with his little glass of sherry and his Christmas tie on.”

Matt says surprising as it might seem, their Christmas was one of the best;

“It was the last Christmas we had with Daddy but it was one of the most memorable. We were together, we had fun and the day was warm and happy. “

Matt and Becca are just two of many people who have chosen to tell their Cornwall Hospice Care story to help others understand the importance of the charity to patients aged 18 and over with life limiting illnesses and their families.