Gillian Dickinson’s story

"I wanted Alan to be a part of this tribute and of St Christopher’s and this way he always will be"

16 June 2016


Gillian Dickinson tells us why she submitted a photo of her husband, Alan, as part of our Dame Cicely Saunders photo mosaic project.

Gillian Dickinson: “My husband, Alan, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2005 and was first referred to St Christopher’s shortly after this time.  During his illness, he received homecare visits and attended the Day Centre among other things (I still have treasured objects at home which he made there including my favourite pottery elephant!).

Before this, I did actually have some previous experience of St Christopher’s as a relative had been a patient there.  Our first visit there together was to the Day Centre.  There were also complementary therapy treatments, meetings with social workers, homecare visits and someone came out from the Hospice to talk to Alan at home about photography which was his great hobby. On each occasion every single person throughout made us both feel so comfortable, supported and, not least of all, inspired confidence particularly in Alan and very importantly, towards the end.  I also received invaluable support personally, from such people as the Welfare staff and later, bereavement support.

I remember attending the Christmas lunch and party one year, everyone was so relaxed and happy and there was laughter, games and we enjoyed a Baileys there too!  It is important to remember that there CAN be laughter even during these times and St Christopher’s provided that.

When I heard about the mosaic tribute to Dame Cicely I wanted to contribute towards this with Alan’s photo because St  Christopher’s is such a special place and it was an important part of our lives and ultimately, ensured Alan passed away peacefully, his pain controlled and in a calm, reassuring environment.  I think the mosaic will be a wonderful tribute to a very special lady who made this possible, and to all the staff involved with St Christopher’s.

I wanted Alan to be a part of this tribute and of St Christopher’s and this way he always will be.”

In 2017 we will be celebrating the 50th Anniversary of St Christopher’s and want to create a photo mosaic of Dame Cicely. Gillian has submitted this photo of her husband, Alan, to be one of the images used to form the mosaic.

If you have any photos that remind you of the hospice, or would like to find out more about our photo mosaic project, please click here:

16 June 2016


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