Hospice nurses and volunteers made Marie's wish come true

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By Walsall Advertiser | Friday, September 07, 2012, 09:00

A WALSALL widower who married his partner during the final days of her life at St Giles Walsall Hospice is urging Advertiser readers to back our campaign in honour of his late wife.

Andrew Halls, aged 48, married wife Marie, aged 37, at the Goscote facility while she received treatment for breast cancer in December 2011.

Hospice staff and volunteers helped the couple organise the 'perfect wedding day', complete with a service and a reception.

Andrew said: "We were nervous when Marie was first taken to St Giles Walsall Hospice.

"But within moments of stepping through its doors, our minds were put at ease by the welcoming nurses and volunteers.

"They soon became our friends while the hospice grew to be our second home.

"The nurses were great. They had many conversations, and during one chat Marie spoke of her wishes to get married.

"Within days, the nurses and volunteers had organised our wedding – right there at the hospice.

"It was a dream come true – the perfect wedding day. We had a service, a reception, a cake, food and much more, and it was all thanks to the St Giles nurses and volunteers."

Marie had been diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009 and was first admitted to the hospice for respite care in October 2011.

Two months later, she chose to spend the final days of her life at the 12-bed facility.

Sadly, after just one month of married life, Marie passed away in January 2012.

Andrew added: "During this sad time, my family and I benefited from the support offered by St Giles and since then we have kept in regular contact with everyone there.

"Anything the hospice needs – my family will always be on hand to help."

Now Andrew hopes his story will inspire Advertiser readers to help us reach our £10,000 for Helen's Appeal, our bid to support the work of St Giles clinical nursing manager Helen Simkins for six months.

He added: "St Giles Walsall Hospice is a special place – and it's a charity that deserves our support.

"Since the hospice opened last year, it has given many local people the chance to experience high-quality specialist care on their doorsteps.

"The memories of our family's experiences with the nurses and volunteers at St Giles will remain with us forever. The staff went above and beyond what is necessary to make those difficult times more bearable.

"Marie's wish was made true thanks to the dedicated care of hospice staff – by supporting Helen's Appeal, Advertiser readers can raise the funds required for other seriously ill people to benefit from this exceptional service when they need it most."

Helen's Appeal is a joint campaign from the Advertiser and St Giles Walsall Hospice, and readers can make a donation using the form printed on this page or online at www.justgiving.com/helensappeal.

Alternatively, readers can take part in one of the many events taking place over the coming weeks and months that will be featured in this paper, or by organising their own fund-raiser. For more information call 01922 602 520.

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