Hospice care inspires book

James Hannah (right) alongside St Catherine's Digital Comms Officer Joe Cooper for the paperback launch of his new novel at Waterstones in Fishergate

James Hannah (right) alongside St Catherine's Digital Comms Officer Joe Cooper for the paperback launch of his new novel at Waterstones in Fishergate

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AN author has used his experiences at a Lancashire hospice to pen a novel about a man coming to terms with his regrets and unfinished business.

James Hannah, author of ‘The A-Z of you and me’, which is set in a fictional St Catherine’s Hospice, was speaking at Waterstones in Preston, when he praised the ‘tremendous caring and warm environment’ created at the Lostock Hall hospice.

James, whose wife is from Preston, came to St Catherine’s in 2008 after his mother-in-law was admitted, following a long-term illness.

He said: “The core of the family ended up staying at the hospice to be at her side.

“As I was only a son-in-law, I didn’t want to impinge on the grief of the family so my role was to make cups of tea, give hugs and be there.

“It meant that I happened to see quite a bit of the life around the hospice.

“What I picked up on was that the nurses seemed to move so seamlessly from one family’s needs to another and that just amazed me. The care they showed when it wasn’t necessarily going to be noticed was just absolutely wonderful.

“I didn’t set out to write a book that was set in a hospice, but I found the experience of St Catherine’s just leaked into the book, and writing it became a way of coming to terms with the grief we were going through.”

He added: “Hospices are a vital service not just for the people who are ill, but also for the friends and families around them.

“The book was almost me writing a love letter to these types of places - they’re absolutely crucial.”