Pet shop chain owner Andrew Battison once saved a woman’s life – bringing her in to shore to a waiting ambulance after she got into difficulties in the sea.
The 65-year-old, from Kings Stag near Sturminster Newton, who is in our inpatient unit at Joseph Weld Hospice in Dorchester, said: “I was canoeing off Widemouth Bay in north Cornwall when I came across this woman. She was purple and barely alive. I managed to get her to the shore, by which time an ambulance was waiting.”
Andrew’s cancer has spread to three areas and he was admitted to Weldmar with pneumonia, which knocked him for six. “I’m so near the end of my life now,” he says. “My cancer is quite aggressive and rare.”
But just days later he is feeling well and feels “so lucky” to be cared for here.
He said: “It’s so tranquil, and peaceful and beautiful. I wanted to end my life in a hospice after coming to see this place a day before I fell ill. I’m so lucky – the staff are lovely, the food is lovely, it’s an absolutely wonderful place.
“I was in hospital for a few weeks then came here – I was a mess when I came in, I thought the pneumonia was going to finish me off. But now I’m doing very well. Nothing flusters me at all, I take everything in my stride. But I do hope I spend my last days here. That would be so nice.”
The only regret he has is never meeting the right person and having children
But he’s happy with his lot, having had a fulfilling life.
Besides saving a woman’s life, Andrew is most proud of working for Debenhams for 21 years, working his way up before establishing his two pets and aquatic shops in Poole and Southampton, Southern Aquatics 26 years ago.
He said: “I was suffering from depression when I worked at Debenhams and knew I had to make a change but every time I tried to leave they offered me more money. But when I made the move I never looked back. I’ve got a great business, and my staff are all looking after it now I’m ill. And I’m here. I feel very lucky.”