After Amanda Belfield’s ex-partner, Paul, was cared for at Pilgrims Hospice Canterbury, she now dedicates a sunflower in his memory as part of the charity’s Sunflower Memories campaign. Here, Amanda shares why the event is so special to her.
Paul was a furniture salesman, he enjoyed chatting to people and had the gift of the gab. He could walk into a crowded room and talk to complete strangers about anything. He loved dogs and it would take us ages to get down the road or round a park as he would always stop to make a fuss of them.
He enjoyed champagne and cigars, and we’d often treat ourselves to afternoon tea at the Ritz, Claridges or Browns on special occasions. Being half Scottish, he always hired a kilt for these occasions and tourists would stop and take photos of him walking through London, which he loved!
I felt closer to Paul, spending time at the hospice where he spent his last days, and it was comforting to share this experience with others who had been through the same.
He was a loving dad to his two children, Victoria and Duncan, grandfather to Mollie, and a larger than life character, always joking and laughing. Even when he became very ill, he still had a smile on his face and was cracking jokes.
In August 2017, Paul was sadly diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. In November, we were told that unfortunately there was nothing they could do apart from palliative chemotherapy.
It was devastating news for him, myself and his two children, but we rallied round. We all hoped that he would make Christmas that year but unfortunately in December Paul’s condition worsened, and the decision was made to take him from the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London to Pilgrims Hospice Canterbury.
Myself and his children never left his side whilst he was at the hospice, and all the staff there were wonderfully accommodating with us virtually setting up camp in his room. Whilst Paul has left such a big hole in all of our lives, we are so grateful that he was able to have his family around him when the time came, thanks to the wonderful care and support that we had from all the staff and volunteers at the Canterbury hospice.
I attended Sunflower Memories for the first time last year. It was very emotional to see Paul’s name on the little sunflower marker, as I still can’t quite believe he’s gone. However, it’s a really lovely day to be part of, to enjoy the music and even the sunshine last year! I felt closer to Paul, spending time at the hospice where he spent his last days, and it was comforting to share this experience with others who had been through the same. I shall look forward to attending once again this year and continuing to support this special place, which I cannot praise highly enough.
Sunflower Memories events will take place at our hospices in July 2019:
- Canterbury, Saturday 27 July, 11am – 1pm
- Thanet, Saturday 27 July, 2pm – 4pm
- Ashford, Sunday 28 July, 2pm – 4pm