How you can donate to St Catherine's Hospice by Lighting Up A Life for the month of December

The St Catherine's Hospice Light Up A Life initiative continues throughout this month. Today a bereaved husband shares his gratitude for how the hospice supported his wife in her final days.

By Fiona Finch
Monday, 6th December 2021, 4:12 pm
Updated Monday, 6th December 2021, 4:14 pm

For Peter Pullen the annual Christmas lights tribute organised by St Catherine' s Hospice is a way to keep wife Alison's memory alive.

It is also an opportunity for him to thank the Lostock Hall hospice.

Alison was cared for at the hospice and her husband Peter recalled how the lights meant so much to her.and how she loved to see them lit up each night before she went to sleep.

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Peter and Alison Pullen

Each Christmas lights in the hospice gardens are lit up with an invitation to make a donation and record the names of loved ones who have died in a special Light Up A Life book.

Peter said: “I used to take her for walks in the grounds in her wheelchair. She enjoyed sitting under the pergola and she wouldn’t go to sleep until she’d seen the lights come on at night. Seeing all of the gardens lit up at Christmas really reminds me of that time we had together at St Catherine’s."

He continued: “I think about her every day, but Light Up A Life is a nice way to keep her memory alive and to give back to the charity which helped us. I look at her name in the Light Up A Life Remembrance Book and see all the other names of people who are being remembered in this way.”

Alison and Peter met when they both worked for Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service where Peter was a firefighter and Alison worked in the control room. She re-trained as a nurse before retiring, aged 60, in October 2016 and was sadly diagnosed with kidney cancer a month later.

Peter and Alison were grateful for the care Alison received at the hospice

Alison first visited St Catherine’s as an outpatient, attending a clinic run by the hospice’s medical director, Dr Andrew Fletcher. She received help with pain control and was managing her condition at home for a few months with Peter’s support.

But when she began struggling with her mobility, including suffering a fall and breaking her arm and her pain became less manageable she took up the suggestion that a stay on the hospice in-patient unit might be appropriate.

Peter, 76, from Walton-le-Dale, said: "Alison really welcomed that; she had found Dr Fletcher’s clinic really helpful so she wasn’t worried."

Alison had been a keen jogger and cyclist, who at one time ran marathons and regularly cycled Preston’s Guild Wheel. She also enjoyed weekly Zumba and pilates classes. Although she could no longer take part in such activities, it was still important to her to spend time outdoors and have some independence, which St Catherine’s helped her achieve.

Peter and Alison Pullen - Alison loved being outdoors and relished the chance to get out in the hospice gardens in a wheelchair during her stay there.

Peter said: “She was in a lot of pain at home when her medication started to wear off; she really was in agony, She wasn’t eating very well and she didn’t have the energy to do much other than watch TV and read. But she felt a lot better at the hospice because they got her medication under control, so she was much more comfortable and was eating better. She was so much brighter and I was happier too, because it was a great relief to see her more like herself again, and we didn’t have to worry about getting her medication right."

He added: “St Catherine’s is a wonderful place and the staff are lovely. We didn’t have an unhappy day there. Alison’s favourite spot was under the pergola where we would sit and talk for hours and it meant a lot to her to be able to enjoy some time outdoors. It really lifted her spirits.”

Alison died at the hospice in June, 2017 and since then Peter has made an annual Light Up A Life dedication in her memory.

But such tributes are not only those who have experienced the specialist palliative and end-of-life care of St Catherine’s, but for anyone who wants to remember someone special. The Hospice says all donations will help the charity to support patients and families at the hospice and in their own homes at Christmas and into the New Year.

Some of the Christmas lights at St Catherine's Hospice this year

To make a dedication see here or at www.stcatherines.co.uk or call 01772 629171 for details.

A virtual dedication service and the online remembrance book are available to view on the hospice's website and the Light Up A Life book is available to view in The Mill Shop in the hospice grounds throughout the festive season.

*For our reprot on this year's switch-on and dedication service at St Catherine's see here* The Lancashire Post is more reliant than ever on you taking out a digital subscription to support our journalism. For unlimited access to Lancashire news and information online, you can subscribe here.

Preston Salvation Army Band playing at this year's lights switch-on at St Catherine's
More lights at St Catherine's Hospice - all helping to Light Up A Life