Mayor of Fareham Pamela Bryant explains the personal reason why she and daughter Louise Clubley are fundraising for Rowans Hospice.
Rowans Hospice is one of the Mayor of Fareham Pamela Bryant’s chosen charities whilst she is in office.
Now she and daughter Louise Clubley aim to raise £10,000 to pay for a therapeutic Jacuzzi bath, which will be fitted as part of the extensive refurbishment of the Hospice.
Pamela initially came across Rowans Hospice the first time she was Mayor of Fareham 17 years ago, when she went to visit it as an additional charity to support alongside Naomi House, the children’s hospice.
She says: ‘I was amazed, the visit really opened my eyes. From the tranquil setting to the welcoming smiling face at the doorway, my initial visit confirmed Rowans was an important charity to fundraise for.’
She adds: ‘Obviously we all hope we never need the facility, but it is important that we make sure it is there for people within our community with terminal illnesses such as cancer, and their families.’
Now 17 years later, Pamela has kindly chosen Rowans Hospice again, as one of her charities of the year. With so many worthy charities asking for the support of Louise and Pamela, selection was judged against a strict criteria.
She explains: ‘We wanted to have charities that were locally-based and looked after local residents, spanning all ages and circumstances.
‘Also, we wanted to support charities that had a lot of volunteer support, because we know from our experience as councillors that a lot of organisations wouldn’t continue if it wasn’t for the volunteer structure.
‘So by raising money it would be a way of helping to pay back the people in our community for their time.
‘Rowans matched the criteria perfectly and was such an obvious choice, especially as I have also now experienced their support and care first hand, as my husband John died in Rowans on April 4, 2017.’
Diagnosed with myeloma seven years ago, John had managed to lead a fairly reasonable life. However it was during the last six to nine months when he ended up going in and out of QA Hospital that things became hard.
Pamela says: ‘We promised that we would try to look after him at home. During the last three weeks Louise and I nursed him around the clock.
‘We managed to keep things going, but we were on our knees. The district nurse came in, took one look at both of us and said she was going to see if Rowans would be able to provide us any support. We all agreed the ideal situation would be for John to be cared for in the Hospice if a bed was available.
‘It was a real wrench to do that knowing that he wasn’t likely to come home again. However, I think Louise and I can both say that from the moment we stepped out of the ambulance with him, we were met by a lovely, welcoming face, looking straight to him and then to us.
‘As Emily, my granddaughter, said: ‘‘If Papa realised where he was, wouldn’t he say “isn’t it lovely here?’’
‘When we arrived they sat us down with a pot of tea whilst they were moving John into his room.
‘The doctor on duty came and chatted to us. All conversations extended beyond talking about John, Louise and myself, as they wanted to find out about the whole family — grandchildren, everything.
‘We felt so reassured by this, we knew we couldn’t do any more and he was in such safe hands.
‘That was the Sunday and he died on the Tuesday. It was very quick really. We were all heartbroken, but everyone treated us with such care and kindness.
‘I am sure they have so many people that are going through there all the time, but it was very personal and I always say that in our hour of need angels came to us.
‘Therefore, rather than presenting a cheque to the Hospice, we wanted to raise money towards a project, something practical, something personal.’
Pamela spoke to Ruth White, Rowans Hospice Chief Executive, about the trustees’ wish list. When Ruth showed her the list Pamela knew straight away she wanted to raise money for the therapeutic Jacuzzi bath. She explains: ‘Knowing the pain John used to be in, how fidgety he would get, I knew that he would have really benefited from using it to help him relax.
‘So that is why we have chosen to raise £10,000 for a therapeutic Jacuzzi bath for Rowans because it will be there to help ease another person’s pain and suffering.’