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Hospice Voices

Caroline & Nigel's story

In 2015, Nigel and Caroline Shattock were both diagnosed with cancer – Nigel with breast cancer, and Caroline with Lymphoma. After an intensive course of chemotherapy, the couple were both in remission and enjoying life. Caroline, who has been volunteering at the Hospice charity shops for nearly 10 years, continued working at the Tenterden Furniture shop, having moved there with the Cranbrook store a few years before. “It’s such a nice thing to do. I find it so satisfying, bringing in a table and then before the end of the day, it’s sold. Nigel sometimes joined me, sitting behind the till and talking to customers.”

Two years later, in 2017, both of the couple’s children married: Chloe to Sam in August, and Edward to Elle in September. What Chloe and Edward didn’t know was that by this time, Nigel had found out his cancer had returned. In May 2018, Nigel died in his own home with Caroline, Chloe and nurses from the Hospice in the Home, aged 78. Caroline describes the nurses as “absolutely lovely. They told me exactly what to do and made me feel able to manage on my own. I feel so fortunate that it was so quick and at home, as I knew that was what Nigel would have wanted.”

Nigel was adamant he did not want a funeral, and it was not until a friend suggested a party that the family started planning a ‘Sharing Memories’ lunch. They held the event at Home SW15, a light and airy restaurant in London on the 3rd March 2019, which would have been Nigel’s birthday, and invited friends and family to celebrate and share photos and memories. Caroline said, “It was a wonderful lunch, and we were able to invite people who we hadn’t seen in a while.” Over 60 people came and enjoyed the Johnnie Walker whisky that was presented to guests as a tribute to Nigel, after he spent much of his life working for the company. Edward made a speech on the day, commenting that the lunch embraced “the three things he would have wanted: lots of friends, food and plenty of whiskey.” Afterwards, many friends and family commented that the only thing missing was Nigel, and that he would have loved it.

So far, the Shattock’s lunch has raised £1,175 for the Hospice in Nigel’s memory, which will help more patients with a terminal illness, their families and carers, receive compassionate, supportive care completely free of charge. Edward says, “Fortunately the care Dad required was only brief, but it was reassuring to know there was a bed there had it been necessary and that many others will benefit in such a difficult time.” Edward welcomed his son, Nigel and Caroline’s first grandchild, Cosmo Frederick Shattock, into the world at the end of March, soon after the lunch, giving him Frederick as his middle name just like himself and his father, Nigel.