A Second World War veteran who volunteered in the early days of St Catherine’s Hospice has given a gift to the charity in his wife’s memory.
Tom Hicks has bought a specialist bed and pressure relieving mattress from the hospice’s Give A Gift appeal list (Here is the full St Catherine’s Hospice 30th Birthday gift list), which highlights 30 ways folk can show their support in 2015.
The gift is dedicated to the memory of his wife of 49 years, Mona, who he met, fell in love with and married in 1944.
Five days after their wedding near his temporary base in Scotland, Tom left to continue his service as navigator on a submarine with the Royal Navy - not returning until 16 months later.
Both Tom and Mona were volunteer drivers for the hospice in 1986 and 1987, when they used to transport patients to and from day therapy. Mona also gave her time as an assistant in the kitchen.
Mona died from bone marrow cancer in 1993, aged 71. Tom cared for her at home in Lostock Hall throughout her lengthy illness, with some support and advice from St Catherine’s.
The hospice was part of our life - when it opened Mona and I wanted to do something for others, and that’s when we signed up as a volunteers.Tom Hicks
Since then, Tom has kept the legacy of his love alive in many different ways.
He regularly pledges donations in her memory to St Catherine’s – including through the Christmas Light Up A Life campaign.
Tom and his family - which includes daughters Barbara, Margaret and Rosemary and son John, who has Down’s syndrome – are also regulars at the hospice’s fundraising events and The Mill cafe.
Tom, 92, said: “The hospice was part of our life - when it opened Mona and I wanted to do something for others, and that’s when we signed up as a volunteers.
“I have continued that support over the years in memory of Mona. I saw the birthday gift list and decided I would like to buy St Catherine’s a bed - then I thought, well what good is a bed without a mattress? So I decided to go the whole hog and get one of those too.
“She had a great respect for this place.
“She would be pleased that the gift was being used to provide something so practical, which will be of great comfort to those who need it.
“This is a gift from all our family to St Catherine’s and we’re very proud to show our support.
“I hope my story will help draw attention to the wonderful service provided to our community by St Catherine’s, and that it might encourage others to support this worthwhile cause.”
Tom’s support also includes writing 12 verses of poetry for special diaries he prints each year to raise funds for the hospice and his local church. He has also handed over a book of poems called ‘For love of Mona’ about love and loss to St Catherine’s, in the hope that others facing illness and bereavement may find some support from the words.
Tom, who remembers there was ‘no wedding dress, no cake, no photographer’ when they tied the knot with a guy he had met at a bus stop the day before as Best Man, explained: “I wanted to give St Catherine’s a copy with the thought that some of the families who are in contact with their work might benefit from reading some of the verses within it.”
To find out more about the campaign and pledge your support visit www.stcatherines.co.uk