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Caring hospice inspires soap star to help fundraising effort

Coronation Street star Tisha Merry with  senior staff nurse Anita Staveley from St Catherines Hospice where her granddad Babilas Felicien John-Baptiste (pictured below) stayed until he died last year

Coronation Street star Tisha Merry with senior staff nurse Anita Staveley from St Catherines Hospice where her granddad Babilas Felicien John-Baptiste (pictured below) stayed until he died last year

Corrie actor’s grandfather enjoyed wonderful care at St Catherine’s now Tisha Merry sets out to repay their efforts with support.

Rising star of Coronation Street Tisha Merry has shared her experiences of St Catherine’s Hospice where her ‘wonderful’ grandfather was cared for.

Tisha, who plays glamorous Bistro waitress Steph Britton, praised the ‘relaxed and homely’ 
atmosphere of the Lostock Hall hospice, where her granddad Babilas Felicien John-Baptiste was looked 
after before his sad death from lung cancer earlier this year.

Although the 20-year-old actress – who is fast becoming a favourite with Corrie fans 
after being made a permanent cast member last year – admits he and the family initially felt some anxiety about what a hospice would be like, they were all pleasantly surprised at the reality.

Now Tisha is sharing her experiences of hospice care with the aim of reassuring other families going through similar situations, and to rally support for the charity which relies on the local community to raise £3.7m of their £5m running costs each year.

Tisha, who lives in Preston with her mum and dad and two younger sisters, said: “When St Catherine’s was first 
mentioned as a place which could help my granddad, he was very reluctant.

“He wanted to stay at home and it was so hard, because we didn’t know what to do.

“It was one of my mum’s friends who told us all what a beautiful place St Catherine’s is – and as soon as we arrived we knew it was true.

“The staff looked after us all, and any anxiety we had felt just went straight out of the window.

“Granddad was really happy while he was in St Catherine’s – they helped to get his pain under control better, and he had the space and the time to be with his family in such a peaceful environment.

“There was a time, not long before he died, when he gathered us all together in his room – he told the nurse he didn’t want his painkillers at that time, he wanted a clear head.

“Of course that was no problem – everything that happened at the hospice was about my Granddad and his wishes and needs.

“I’ll never forget that afternoon at St Catherine’s – it was his chance to tell us all his thoughts on his life, and exactly what each of us meant to him.

“We were all in pieces!

“It was so emotional but I’m so glad he got that time – it was such a special moment which we’ll never forget.

“My Granddad was a happy, caring and beautifully natured man – he had such love for everyone and never had a bad word to say.

“He was so kind and caring and I’m really pleased he got to experience that from the team at St Catherine’s, at the time he really needed it.”

Tisha, who began attending drama school aged 14 and has starred in various films and a five-part BBC drama before stepping out on the famous Weatherfield cobbles in 2012, has now pledged her ongoing support to St Catherine’s, and is urging others to do the same.

“Before my own family’s dealings with St Catherine’s I didn’t appreciate how much of what they do depends on local support,” she said.

“The amount of fundraising they have to do each year is incredible and they’ve got so many events going on!

“There’s the Yellow Day garden fete on June 15, plus loads of other fun stuff like the Symphony at the 
Tower concerts with James Blunt and Katherine Jenkins in July and the skydive challenges.

“I’ll certainly be doing all I can to show my support as a ‘thank you’ for all they did for Granddad.”

For further information about St Catherine’s Hospice and their forthcoming 
fundraising events and activities go online at: www.stcatherines.co.uk.

 

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