"My darling husband, Ray, was diagnosed with cancer in 2009 and it was a devastating time for us both. He had an operation to try and remove some of the cancer which was successful but sadly a few months later it returned with a vengeance and was much more aggressive meaning he had just a few weeks to live.
“Ray received hospice care from a hospice close to where we lived at the time, it made a profound difference to us both. From their community team who made sure Ray was receiving the correct medication to being sign posted to support groups. It was such a comfort to know that we weren’t alone and there were other people going through the same thing we could talk to.
“Ray spent two weeks in the hospice In-patient Unit, but he wanted to be at home and the team supported us so that Ray could die peacefully, and pain free surrounded by his home comforts.
As well as the care and support Ray received, I was supported after his death by the hospice bereavement team who helped me work through my feeling of loss as well as introducing me to other people in a similar situation. We all supported each other to find our new normal and come to terms with our loss.
“After Ray died, I decided to move to Minehead to be closed to my daughter and a few years later took up sea swimming. I found it was so good for my mental health as there’s nothing like jumping in icy cold water every day!
Even though it wasn’t St Margaret’s who provided Ray’s care, I know that all hospices provide specialised and unique care across the country and so when I retired, I automatically looked at the St Margaret’s charity shop in Minehead to volunteer.
Kate, after the New Year's Day Charity Dip 2021
“It’s one of the best things I’ve done. All the staff and volunteers are so friendly and are a pleasure to work with. The shop is always busy but it’s a great place to volunteer - I love talking to customers while they’re browsing as I’m a real people person!
“I heard about the dip through the shop and immediately signed up to take part! It felt like the perfect way to remember Ray and support St Margaret’s. Hospices make such a difference to so many people, they make sure patients have a good death and support not just the patients but their family too so it’s lovely to be able to give back and support my local hospice.
“There was a fantastic atmosphere on the day. People of all ages and abilities were braving the cold water and I had a great time as I took part with some of my friends and met other people in the community I knew. The hospice team were wonderful, they were kind and considerate and the hot drinks were very welcome when we got back onto the beach!
“When you plunge into the cold water you get this rush of adrenaline, I can’t explain it but there’s nothing like it! So, if you’ve never done a dip before I’d encourage you to go ahead and try it. It’s so much fun and it’s a great way to support your local hospice. I hear all the time about the wonderful care and support they provide from the customers who come into the shop, and it brings such comfort that no matter where you live, when its needed families can receive the vital care and support.”