Each summer, children gather at Joseph Weld Hospice to remember special people – and they have a whale of a time. There are games to play in the meadow, lots of other kids to meet and little gifts to take home.
The Tourgout family from Weymouth – Linda, her daughter-in-law Charlotte, and granddaughters Gracie and Ava, 10 and 8 – have been coming for seven years, to remember Hussain Tourgout, who died in 2010.
Gracie said: “It’s such a nice place. We have fun and make new friends. We look forward to coming. I was very, very close to grandad, wasn’t I grandma?”.
Linda said: “Gracie was always to be found with her grandad, out in the garden, on the computer or watching ‘In the Night Garden’ on the television.”
Charlotte said: “They were like The Odd Couple!”. She added: “We come along to the Christmas and summer events, and the snowdrop events, and my husband John did the firewalk. We took snowdrops home and planted them, and blew bubbles over them”.
Linda said: “The events, organised by Jo Sharkey (Weldmar’s Childrens Support Worker), keep it in perspective for the girls. It lets them know they are not the only ones.”
Hussain was a nurse tutor at Bournemouth University and was always meeting nurses he had trained as he went to hospital appointments around the county.
Linda said: “They all had a nice story to tell about him, a funny anecdote. He was so well-loved and respected.
“Hussain had all his chemotherapy and radiotherapy but the cancer spread to his spine. Weldmar took him in and gave him intravenous antibiotics when he got a chest infection and we thought it would be the end. But because of his treatment at Joseph Weld Hospice he managed to come home for another two weeks, which enabled all his family in Cyprus to come over and see him.
“He did say he was quite happy here, but luckily they got him well enough to come home, where he died very peacefully after seeing his sister and three brothers with the extra time he was given.
“They let me stay with him here, in a reclining chair by his bed. They were wonderful.”