Harpenden teacher Connor inspires charity cash

PUBLISHED: 18:43 13 July 2013

Connor's widow Rose Geraghty (centre) with nurses from the Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust’s local team

Connor's widow Rose Geraghty (centre) with nurses from the Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust’s local team

Archant

THOUSANDS of pounds have been raised in memory of a long-serving Harpenden school teacher, who died of cancer last year, to help other people with terminal illnesses receive end of life care at home.

Connor Geraghty, who taught at Roundwood Park School for 21 years, passed away in September at the age of 57 after being diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Thanks to Harpenden’s Integrated Community Nursing Team he was able to spend his last moments at home, and to recognise their work friends, family and pupils from Roundwood Park have jointly donated £10,000.

Connor’s widow Rose Geraghty said: “When you have to trust people you have never met before with the most precious thing in your life you need to know they are working together on your behalf.

“Communication and co-ordination between our doctor, the community nurses and our specialist palliative care nurse was amazing, which meant Connor’s pain medication was well managed. I could cope with anything as long as he wasn’t in pain.”

The money will buy extra nursing equipment and provide more specialist staff training to help NHS patients receiving end of life care in Harpenden, Wheathampstead and Redbourn die at home rather than in hospital.

Rose added: “Nothing was too much trouble for the nursing team. They were compassionate and respectful. They took time to listen to Connor, my son and I about Connor’s needs and put him at the centre of everything they did. Because of this Connor died with dignity.”

“Connor, our son Chris and I all think our community nurses are unsung heroes whose excellent work deserves recognition.”

Roundwood Park, where Connor taught English and drama which his wife described as being a big part of his life, raised £6,500 towards the cause.

Last year pupils and staff organised a range of fundraising activities including a sponsored run and a quiz as part of memorial week to remember and celebrate his life and work in the school.

Headteacher Alan Henshall said: “Connor touched the lives of many students and staff. He was always enthusiastic, always upbeat and an incredible person. He is greatly missed.

“Students and staff at the school are comforted that he died, as he wanted, at home. We are delighted to be able to present the funds we have raised to our nurses, who cared for him so well.”

Community nursing team leader Fran Gardner, who is based at Harpenden’s Red House Memorial Hospital, will visit students today to thank them for the donation and explain more about their work which involves liaising with local GP surgeries to deliver planned nursing and therapy care to housebound patients.

She said: “Everyone in the team that nursed Connor is proud that we supported him to die at home, peacefully, with the family he loved around him, as he wished.

“We are bowled over by the generosity of this donation. The fantastic amount of money raised will help us support other patients to die at home.”

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