For the family of Melvin Powell, St Michael’s Hospice will always remain in their hearts.

The husband, father and grandfather died at St Michael’s last November. Throughout his two stays, his relatives say they witnessed the very best care – both for Melvin and themselves. ‘The staff are amazing, and I felt complete trust in them to not only care for my Dad’s welfare, but also my Mum, brother and myself, at a time when we were all quite vulnerable,’ said one of Melvin’s two sons, Gavin.

‘The people, the location, the aurora and the feel are all very special and that allowed me to be so close to Dad at that time. From that I am now able to have beautiful thoughts, feelings and memories that will last me a lifetime. It was a sad time, but when I think of that period, because of the Hospice, I smile at the same time as shedding a tear.’

Melvin’s first visit to St Michael’s saw a rapid improvement in his pain management. ‘After weeks and months of constant pain and despite many changes in treatment plans, the staff at the Hospice were able to change and tweak his medication and very quickly there was a marked improvement,’ said son, Elwyn. ‘This continued over the coming days until we got to a position of pain management that we never expected to achieve. The fact that we were then able to get him home, if only for a short time, was purely down to the commitment and hard work from the team at St Michael’s.’

Returning to St Michael’s after Melvin’s health deteriorated, Elwyn says there was a feeling of ‘revisiting friends’. ‘We knew they would continue to do their utmost for him and for us and they certainly did that for the remaining days,’ he said. ‘Although it was a horribly tough time for all of us, the one shining beacon of positivity I take from it was that the team at St Michael’s were able to make my dad’s final time less painful.  We were able to have a little bit of extra time with him where we could chat football and all the other ‘normal’ things that we had talked about our whole lives, without the constant pain that had been there over the previous weeks.’

Melvin’s wife, Joyce, says the Hospice staff were ‘truly wonderful’. ‘Watching and listening to them, one would have thought Melvin was either their best friend or closest relative. We were allowed, even during lockdown, to be with Melvin 24 hours a day. We were all so very aware of the genuine love and care which flowed naturally from every staff member we met.’

One highlight of Melvin’s last weeks was the joy of holding his first grandchild, 3-month-old Casper. ‘He was like a very special medicine,’ said Joyce. ‘Easing the pain. I would like to send a heartfelt thank you to each and every one of you at St Michael’s. If anyone has qualms about going there, or having a relative there, there is no reason whatsoever for concern.’