wills blog 2021 banner

Are you willing?

We rely on the generosity of local people to fund our services and 1 in 3 of our patients is cared for thanks to gifts in wills. Gus Ferguson explains why he’s chosen to remember Martlets in his will. He also shares his memories of the care Martlets gave him, and his wife Margot, who spent her last weeks on our inpatient unit.

“Martlets looked after my late wife Margot who died in 2011. She received such fantastic care and we thought it was important to offer support in return. I’ve left something to Martlets in my will because I think it will be money well spent. The care they offer is something so many families could benefit from.

The majority of my estate will be left in trust to my son Oscar; he has special needs and is on the autistic spectrum. But I’m sure we will talk about him leaving his estate to Martlets later on. Oscar volunteers in one of Martlets’ charity shops. He’s really looking forward to going back when COVID restrictions are lifted. I’m also planning to raise money for Martlets through my Keyboard Karaoke nights in Brighton, once social venues open up again. So, we’re doing our bit as a family to support the fantastic work Martlets does.

Margot’s journey with Martlets

Margot had cancer and our oncologist made the call to connect us with Martlets. She was under Martlets’ care for the last 10 weeks of her life and spent her last birthday on the ward. We did make preparations for Margot to die at home, but in the end she needed to come in. The care was fantastic. The staff got to know us and were supportive in a way that showed they really understood people as individuals.

With Margot’s condition, and Oscar being on the spectrum, it was important for us to put our trust in Martlets. We knew that Martlets would be somewhere Oscar could visit during Margot’s last days; we knew that the staff would be supportive and understand our situation. Charlie, our Jack Russell, came along with us – it was great that Martlets let us do that. I remember feeling it was a place of kindness and courage.

‘They understood that everyone reacts differently when a loved one dies’

Looking back to when I was visiting Margot, I was under such stress that parts of me were completely irrational. Margot always wanted me and our boy to have a nice home in Fiveways. It was important to her. At one point while she was in the Hospice I went and had a look at a house. One of the doctors took me aside and gently said ‘you don’t have to look at houses now Gus’. They pointed out that there would be time for house hunting later. I really needed someone to say that and tell me not to be daft.

It’s such a stressful situation. You sometimes want to distract yourself from the pain and to keep yourself busy by having a project or feeling useful. Your lens on the world is bent out of shape and distorted. The staff at Martlets were fantastic at offering this type of practical support and keeping me ‘sane’ during that time.

When someone dies it’s common to become quite irrational with the shock of it all. I remember idiotic things popped into my head when I was signing the death register that I blurted out. The staff were so supportive though. They completely understood my sense of humour; they knew I was saying irrational things because I was trying to handle Margot’s death in my own way. I really appreciated how accepting they were. They understood that there is not one appropriate reaction when someone you love dies; everyone reacts differently.

‘It’s the little things than make a big difference’

What I noticed most was how well the little things were taken care of. That’s the nature of care; it is the many small things done well and the promises fulfilled for those being cared for. Charm is a part of the service industry that we are all used to encountering when things are going smoothly in life. But it’s when things go wrong that charm and providing a service needs to give way to authentic care.

After Margot died, I had a few sessions with a grief counsellor at Martlets which were very helpful. I also remember when I was visiting Margot that I was offered a massage by one of their complementary therapists. She was a lovely lady and just very gently touched my feet. It was the nicest massage I’ve ever had.

I had these stupid shoes on and had twisted my ankle. So, I’d be hobbling in to visit Margot and was in absolute agony and couldn’t sleep. You’re running on adrenalin and just push through stuff like a sprained ankle. So, the offer of a massage was fantastic. Martlets offer little things like that to family as well as to patients which just makes such a difference.”

Change lives by making a gift in your will to Martlets

When you write your will, your first concern will be to make provision for your close family and friends. But we hope that you may also consider including a gift to Martlets too. You might want to leave a gift because you have been personally touched by our care. Or because you want to help a local charity. Whatever your reasons, a gift in your will today will change lives in the future.

A gift of any size will make a difference. And larger gifts can have a huge impact on our care for people living in and around Brighton and Hove.

Will Writing Month — May 2021

Every year, we team up with professional Will writers who offer to write your Will in return for a donation to Martlets. We ask for £150 for a single Will and £200 for a joint Will. Some people also use our scheme to remember us in their Wills.

Bookings can be made from 1 to 30 April 2021. You can register your interest by contacting our Gifts in Wills Manager Gary Moyle. Email gary.moyle@martlets.co.uk