Ian Robertson was a hugely popular and well-known figure across Herefordshire.

The father-of-three, from Burghill, died unexpectedly last April, leading his wife Sally to discover support from St Michael’s that she never thought possible.

‘Our first contact with the Hospice came shortly before Ian died at Hereford County Hospital,’ said Sally. 

‘I was under the Hospice radar at that time because I was caring for Ian, and they offered me and my family a great deal of support.

‘It’s the counselling service in particular which I can’t praise highly enough. Put simply, I would not have got through all this without my counsellor.’

This help didn’t stop with Sally; her three daughters also received support through the Bereavement Support team.

‘Coping without Ian being there, particularly during lockdown, was tough for all of us,’ said Sally. 

‘But it was these regular conversations I had with the counsellor which helped me enormously.’

Amid all this, Ian’s brother, Steve, was then given a couple of months to live. He was cared for by St Michael’s, before dying at Stretton Nursing Home.

‘It was a tough time, but thanks to the team at St Michael’s, I’ve been able to see light at the end of the tunnel,’ added Sally, who has also benefitted from Mindfulness sessions run by St Michael’s.  

‘I think the most surprising element for me is that I just didn’t realise any of this was available at the Hospice.

‘It really has helped me survive this past year. Without them, I just don’t think I would have coped. I can’t thank them enough.’

Sally and her family are planning a Nordic walk through the Black Mountains to raise funds for the Hospice’s counselling team.

‘The Black Mountains is a very special place for us as it was one of Ian’s favourite places; he loved it there,’ said Sally.

‘Ian was the most wonderful man, and we all miss him greatly. Someone said to me it’s as if the light has gone out of the village, and I don’t think I can put it any better than that.’

For more information on the Hospice’s Bereavement Support service, click here