Northumberland widow’s fund-raising efforts for NHS staff who looked after husband
A Northumberland woman has raised more than £2,000 ‘to give something back’ to the NHS staff that cared for her beloved late husband.
Hazel Turnbull, who lost her husband, Billy, 74, to pancreatic cancer last November, organised a fund-raising event in August at the Riverside Caravan Park in Rothbury, where she lives most of the year and the place she and Billy were happiest. The couple had been married for 31 years and together for 41 years.
Through a raffle, tombola and cake sale, a total of £2,200 was raised, which is being split between the Macmillan Palliative Care team and the League of Friends of Rothbury Community Hospital, on behalf of the district nursing team.
“It’s about giving something back, because the Macmillan nurses and the Rothbury district nurses were absolutely amazing, they were all really great with Billy,” Hazel said. “I also couldn’t believe the generosity of my friends, family and local businesses.”
The 71-year-old recently invited Macmillan Palliative Care nurse specialist, Karen Richardson, and community staff nurse, Tracey Taylor, to the caravan park so that she could present them with the cheques in the presence of friends and Steven Bridgett, the county councillor for Rothbury.
This was because their care, support and hard work, alongside that of other colleagues from Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, was invaluable after Billy, came home for end-of-life care, which meant that he and Hazel were together for seven weeks at a time when Covid restrictions would have limited their contact if he had remained in hospital or transferred to a hospice.
“The staff on Ward 3 at the Northumbria hospital in Cramlington were brilliant too, but for two weeks before he was diagnosed end of life and came home, I could only visit him for an hour a day,” she added. “Billy had a great rapport with Karen, Tracey and the other nurses who came and they made his life comfortable. It was lucky, if that’s the word, that he passed during the day when the nurses that knew him best were here.”
Karen and Tracey both expressed their gratitude to Hazel for raising this money, which will make a real difference to the care that the teams are able to provide to patients like Billy.
Karen said: “It was really touching that Hazel wanted to thank us in this way and the money raised will help us support other patients, so it was a very generous thing to do.”
Tracey added: “We were just doing our jobs, but it’s really nice when someone reaches out like this and is appreciative of what you have done for their loved one.”
Ben O’Connell, media and communications officer
Benjamin.O’Connell@northumbria-healthcare.nhs.uk or 07833 046680.