Christine and Adrian are getting married on 8 September and, instead of wedding presents, are asking family and friends to consider making a donation to Martlets. Both their late spouses spent their final days on Martlets’ inpatient unit and Christine and Adrian have supported Martlets in various ways since.
“Both my family and Adrian’s received the very best of care from Martlets when we lost our respective spouses,” says Christine. “I lost my husband in 2002 and Adrian lost his wife in 2014. We received wonderful support from Martlets during those difficult times.
Adrian’s wife was cared for on Martlets’ inpatient unit for several days at the end of her life. Since then, Adrian has supported Martlets by playing their Lottery regularly and in other ways too.
My husband had lung cancer and spent his last weeks at Martlets. Initially, he went into the inpatient unit so they could manage his medication. But he ended up being in there for 11 weeks because the cancer had spread to his brain. He was too ill to come back home.
Me and my son visited him, and I went in every day; Martlets became part of our lives. The brilliant staff just made the whole experience more bearable. It was summer so we could go out into Martlets’ courtyard garden which was lovely.
We were a bit hesitant at first about hospice care. People tend to think of it as quite depressing, but the staff were so reassuring and upbeat. They looked after me and my son as well as my husband and helped us get through it. I was also offered several sessions of bereavement counselling which helped a lot.
Sometimes my husband wasn’t fully with it towards the end and he would say, ‘this is a nice hotel’. He didn’t realise he was in a hospice; he was just aware that he was being well looked after. Everyone was so supportive, and they understood that sometimes we needed to have lighter moments as a way of coping.
A wedding fundraiser for Martlets
Adrian and I met when we worked for an engineering company in 2006. But we didn’t know each other very well back then. I was working in the Human Resources part of the company and received the newsletter Martlets would send out. It mentioned their first ever sponsored trek across the Great Wall of China. I took part and raised £5000. It had only been two years since my husband died and everyone was so generous in donating in his memory.
When Adrian found out I was doing the trek he asked what I was doing to get ready. He was a keen walker and led a small group of friends on regular walks. I said I was doing yoga and going to the gym, but he suggested I also do some hill walking. After all, I was going to be walking up and down along the Great Wall and needed to build stamina. I went along on a few of his walks and slowly got to know him. We started off as friends and over the years it developed into more.
Adrian moved in with me in 2019 and then we bought a place together last year. We postponed our wedding until this September because of the lockdowns. It will just be a small wedding with 32 people, but hopefully we will all be able to get together at last. It’s so nice after all the lockdowns to have something to look forward to. It will be lovely to see everyone all dressed up and smiling. Asking for donations to Martlets feels like a nice gesture, given the support they have given our families over the years. We can’t wait to enjoy the day.
Supporting Martlets as a volunteer
I became a regular volunteer fundraiser for Martlets in 2005. Back then I was working full time so I could only do things in the evening and at weekends. So I took part in Open Gardens and the midnight ‘in memory’ walk. But since I retired in 2015, I have been volunteering in their London Road shop, which opened that year.
I work in the shop once a week and absolutely love it. They’re a lovely group of volunteers and I always feel better after a session there. You are never taken for granted as a Martlets volunteer; the managers always thank you and look after you and make you feel appreciated.
Martlets provides such a marvellous service and Adrian and I both really appreciated their love and care. They were there when we needed them most. Martlets needs funds in order to continue to help other families, so we like to support them whenever we can.”