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4 March 2024

I do! Couple who met at St Michael's Hospice bereavement group are set to tie the knot

Richard and Linda to wed after meeting at St Michael's bereavement group

A couple who met at a St Michael’s Hospice bereavement group after losing their spouses are getting married.

Romance blossomed between Linda Phillips and Richard Flower during walks and meals with members of a group formed by St Michael’s for people who have lost loved ones.

The lovestruck couple will marry in April and have vowed to remember Linda’s husband, Patrick, and Richard’s wife, Tracee, during the ceremony.

“We will never forget them, and that’s why we’re honouring them,” said Linda. “They have made us who we are.”

Richard proposed to Linda, who had no hesitation in saying ‘Yes’. They will have two ceremonies; a small official one, then a celebration at the Fisherman’s Arms in Docklow, near Leominster, where members of the bereavement group regularly meet.  

“I never dreamt I would fall I love again,” said Richard. “Linda means the world to me. I never expected it, but I’m so glad she is a part of my life.”

The couple say they owe everything to St Michael’s for the care given to Patrick and Tracee, who both died at the Hospice in the Spring of 2022.

“When Patrick reached end-of-life, he came to St Michael’s where he spent the last fortnight of his life,” said Linda, who was married to Patrick for 40 years. “He was just a different person after being admitted. Little things like seeing Patrick sitting up; everything just seemed a bit brighter. The care he received was incredible. He was given respect, and was just well cared for and loved.”

Tracee had ovarian cancer and died at St Michael’s five days after admission.

“I know she was only at St Michael’s for a short time, but she loved being there, and we’re so grateful for the care given to her, and us as a family,” said Richard.

Both Linda and Richard received counselling from St Michael’s, and were invited to get-togethers, including lunches and the Striders and Strollers bereavement walking group which meets monthly at Queenswood Country Park between Hereford and Leominster.

“The first time I went, I sat in the car and wondered whether I could do it,” added Linda. “But I’m so glad I did.” Many of the members keep in touch through a Whatsapp group, which Linda describes as “a lifesaver”.

“It just felt like the people on there were kindred spirits because everyone understood what you were going through.”

The group often meets up for meals. One evening, Richard offered to give Linda a lift to save her walking in the dark, and this proved to be the start of their relationship.

“At the next Striders and Strollers, we were talking and Richard said he missed having someone to hold hands with,” said Linda. “So, I held out my hand, and we held hands the whole time. Richard is my reason for living. I love him so much and can’t wait to be his wife.”

To raise funds for St Michael’s, the couple are taking part in the Hospice’s Big Spring Walk on Sunday, 17th March.

They can be sponsored here

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