‘You have to think about why you do it’

Pat and Dave Southern are celebrating thier diamond wedding annivserary ''Picture by:  Malcolm Wells (180419-1480)

DIAMOND WEDDING: ‘We’re so happy, we’d do it all over again if we could’

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When The Rowans Hospice took over as carers for Amanda Kennard’s father, she knew then that she could start being his daughter again.

This meant the world to Amanda, who had been Leonard Poulton’s carer until only a few days before. Leonard collapsed at Christmas last year and tests revealed he had a brain tumour. He then collapsed a further two more times before he was taken to the hospice in Purbrook Heath Road, Purbrook, where he died in April.

THEY'RE OFF The Rowans Hospice Moonlit Memories Walk 2012 in Portsmouth.  ''Picture: Paul Jacobs (122056-19)

THEY'RE OFF The Rowans Hospice Moonlit Memories Walk 2012 in Portsmouth. ''Picture: Paul Jacobs (122056-19)

On Saturday Amanda, 48, along with daughters Emily Kennard, 13, Danielle Burton, 27, and their cousin Sophie Merrett, 24, took part in the Moonlit Memories Walk.

Amanda, of Hambledon Road, Waterlooville, says: ‘I lost my dad in April.

‘He collapsed at Christmas when he was at home on his own.

‘Tests revealed what was wrong with him. It was a massive shock to us all and he was given three to six months to live.

From left, Emily Kennard, 13, Amanda Kennard, 48, Danielle Burton, 27, and Sophie Merrett, 24, walking in memory of Amanda's father Leonard Poulton.  (122056-3)

From left, Emily Kennard, 13, Amanda Kennard, 48, Danielle Burton, 27, and Sophie Merrett, 24, walking in memory of Amanda's father Leonard Poulton. (122056-3)

‘My dad then collapsed again at the end of March and he came to live with me for 11 days.’

During that time Amanda was helping her father with his medication and getting him in and out of bed.

‘After that he collapsed again, but that time he went to The Rowans,’ adds Amanda.

‘He was in the hospice for three days before he passed away.

‘They were fantastic as they completely took over. I can remember a nurse saying to me “It’s okay, we can take over and you can be a daughter”.

‘And that’s what was so crucial, because up until that point I hadn’t been. I had been caring for my dad and getting caught up with that.’

Amanda says she will never forget the help she got from the hospice – including support after her father passed away.

‘The care he got there was amazing, you can’t fault it,’ she adds.

‘But even afterwards they were supporting us. They helped with funeral information and gave us the encouragement and strength to carry on. You can go there any time and people will be there to help you and listen to you.

‘The Meerkat Service was also a great help for the children.’

This year to mark the walk’s fifth anniversary, the age limit was lowered to let younger people take part in the 12-mile event. A shorter five-mile course was also introduced.

That meant Emily, who goes to Wykeham House School for Girls, could walk in memory of her grandad.

She says: ‘I was very close to my grandad and I remember him taking me to the park and walking with him.

‘I really wanted to take part in this walk and do 12 miles, not just five.

‘The walk was good because it had a lot of meaning because of grandad and raising money for the Rowans.’

Between the four of them they have raised more than £1,000 in sponsorship, while money is still being collected.

‘My youngest daughter did really well, we all finished at 2.45am,’ adds Amanda.

‘I’m glad I did it. My legs were hurting afterwards, but lighting the candle in the cathedral was a really touching moment and really spurred us to carry on.

‘You have to think about the reasons why you are doing it. I really enjoyed it. I will definitely be doing it again next year and will get more people to join in.’

‘We wanted to raise money for the hospice that helped us so much’

It was his family’s first Father’s Day without Ray Lucas, but they felt close to him just by taking part in the Moonlit Memories Walk.

Ray, 67, died last December from bowel cancer.

And his daughters Michelle Lucas, 32, Denise Day, 40, and Natalie Lucas, 29, knew they would find their first Father’s Day without their dad difficult.

But when they saw they had the chance to remember him and raise money for a hospice that helped them all, they didn’t hesitate to sign up.

Housewife Michelle, of Newbolt Road, Paulsgrove, says: ‘My dad had bowel cancer and was diagnosed in September 2010.

‘He had been in and out of hospital a few times before then. He had a blood clot and they treated him for that, but didn’t know about the bowel cancer.

‘It was a horrible feeling when he was diagnosed. They started treating him with chemotherapy and radiotherapy. He was always very ill and had four or five treatments, but was just too sick.

‘He stayed at The Rowans Hospice in June last year for two weeks before he came home and had home visits.

‘Nurses were always there making sure he was comfortable and the occupational therapists were just amazing as well.

‘So to say thank you we wanted to raise money for the hospice that helped us out so much.’

The walk became a family affair as Ray’s widow Pam, 64, along with her grandchildren Amy Ferrand, 13, Chloe Revy, 13, Amy Day, 20, and Dani Day, 18, all took part.

‘It was the first Father’s Day without him and we knew it was going to be hard,’ adds Michelle.

‘But walking in his memory at midnight felt like he was with us.’

Walking in memory of a much-loved grandmother

Cousins Kerri-Ann Wool and Danielle Sims took part in the midnight stroll in memory of their grandmother, Pamela Harley.

Pamela died in March this year and had stayed at The Rowans Hospice for just under three weeks before passing away.

Danielle, 25, of Whiteley, says she will never forget the help given by the hospice and wanted to do something in return.

She says: ‘My nan needed 24-hour care.

‘She was diagnosed with vaginal cancer last year, was treated for it and we thought it had gone.

‘But then around Christmas time she started getting really sick again.’

A CT scan showed the cancer had spread everywhere around the body.

Danielle says: ‘She got really sick before anything else could be done.

‘The Rowans managed to get her back on her feet and looked after her so well.

‘Towards the end, my nan needed 24-hour care and they managed to give her just that.

‘Previously she had carers at home, and while they did the best they could, The Rowans can take over.

‘They also help with medical questions so we didn’t have to go to the hospital to find out what was happening.’