"Do what you can to help": Leeds family raise funds for under-threat hospice in memory of dad

A Leeds family who have been touched by the work of Sue Ryder Wheatfields are raising cash for the hospice to give something back in its hour of need.

Tuesday, 7th April 2020, 5:17 pm
Updated Tuesday, 7th April 2020, 5:18 pm

Paul Reid's mother, Kathleen, spent her final week at the Headingley hospice two years ago, and his father, Colin, had planned to do the same had his life not been cut cruelly shorter by a combination of pneumonia and coronavirus.

Sue Ryder Wheatfields has struggled financially as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, forcing it to close shops and cancel crucial fundraising events.

Now the charity, which operates hospices around the country after being founded by Leeds woman Sue Ryder in 1953, has warned that it will be forced to close its palliative care base in Headingley and stop caring for people in their own homes “within months” if emergency funds are not found.

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Colin Reid.

Colin Reid, who lived in Gildersome, died in hospital aged 82 on Tuesday, March 31.

He had been diagnosed with cancer and was given six months to live.

Paul, 59, said: "It concerns me greatly that Sue Ryder may be in trouble.

"I think it’s really important that anybody who has had any contact with the hospice in the past should try to do what they can now to help them out of this very distressing situation."

Sadly, due to coronavirus restrictions, the family cannot attend Colin's funeral.

His family, including sister Carol Mould, has instead set up a Just Giving page to encourage people to donate to Sue Ryder in his memory.

Paul, of New Farnley, explained that the family would only be allowed to follow the hearse from the funeral directors to Rawdon Crematorium, but would have to stop at the gates.

"It is really tough," he said. "Particularly when it is family, you want them to have that final, respectful ending, to have that finalisation of things.

"But it is nobody's fault and it is just a fact of life at the moment."

The family plan to hold a memorial service for him when circumstances allow.

Paul, who works in supported housing, mental health, drugs and alcohol services, added: "Dad was intending to use Wheatfields' facilities leading up to him becoming an inpatient.

"The services that he was looking forward to were their holistic treatments and drop-in services."

Paul was full of praise for the Sue Ryder nurses and healthcare teams.

"They provide great care and were fantastic with my mum and our family," he added.

The YEP has been supporting the hospice since 1982, when it launched its 'Half and Half' appeal.

The family also raised £750 for the hospice after the death of Kathleen.

Paul said: "It's just a great service they provide and it would be such a shame if it was lost.

"I am hopeful that this fundraiser will raise a significant amount of money from family and friends which will be passed on to the hospice to help them continue the excellent work that they do for patients and families in need."

To donate directly to Sue Ryder please visit www.sueryder.org/donate