Devoted Daughter Urges Walkers to Pull on Boots for Barnsley Hospice

A midwife whose dad died at Barnsley Hospice is urging others to take part in the annual fundraising walk. Cate Briscoe says the care her dad got before he died at the hospice was outstanding and she wants to give something back to the charity.

Tom Briscoe was just 65 when he died in 2009 from bowel cancer. He spent the last days of his life at the hospice in Gawber. Two weeks after his death Cate took part in the hospice’s Midnight Walk and plans to pull on her walking boots again this June.

“I have been a nurse for a long time, so I know what good care looks like. The level of care is outstanding. It’s like an extended family.  But it’s not just the person who is ill that they focus on, the whole family is important,” said 42-year-old Cate, who visited her dad every day.

Tom, who lived in Hemingfield, had worked as engineering draughtsman before his diagnosis in 2007. Just a week later his wife was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease.

Cate, who is a specialist midwife at Barnsley District General Hospital and also lives in Hemingfield, said: “He was a selfless man. He was trying to look after mum when he should have been looking after himself. When he came to the hospice he would say that now it was his quality time.”

Often when Cate came to visit her dad he would be watching television with a team member or watching the birds on a bird table just outside his room.

“The rapport they built with him was fantastic.  Dad was scared that this is the place that you come to die, but this is the place where you come to live. If there is such a thing as a good death he had it.”

More than a thousand women are expected to take part in the Midnight Walk this year. The theme is the Wild Wild West, with women dressing up as cowgirls, Indians, showgirls or sheriffs.

The walk starts at the Barnsley Metrodome at midnight on Saturday June 29, with participants covering either a five or ten mile route.

Cate, who plans to do the ten mile version, said: “It is quite tough, especially at about 3am, but there is an amazing atmosphere on the walk, which gives you strength.”

Last year’s walk raised £90,000 after it was postponed due to poor weather. The one in 2011 made £100,000. The hospice has to raise £2 million annually in addition to its £1.6m NHS grant to stay open.

The hospice has ten beds for inpatient care and provides day care at the Limes Support and Therapy Centre every day, as well as a wide range of other services for patients and their carers.

Care is free for anyone in Barnsley with a life-threatening condition, not just cancer patients, and is also available in patients’ own homes.

For more information about the walk and to register go to Tel: 01226 244244

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