St Albans family dedicate light to lost father in charity initiative

PUBLISHED: 08:00 02 November 2018

Matt, Rebecca and their children. Picture: Submitted by The Hospice of St Francis

Matt, Rebecca and their children. Picture: Submitted by The Hospice of St Francis

Archant

A St Albans family is celebrating the life of their devoted father and husband by dedicating a light in his name on a charity remembrance tree.

Matt Parkin and his wife, Rebecca. Picture: Submitted by The Hospice of St FrancisMatt Parkin and his wife, Rebecca. Picture: Submitted by The Hospice of St Francis

Matt Parkin was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer in 2017, shortly after he turned 40.

As the illness progressed, it became increasingly difficult for him to spend time with his three children, aged four, five and 16.

His wife, Rebecca Parkin, said: “Matt was an incredible family man and took great pride in playing an active role in everyday activities with the children. As the cancer advanced he became very sensitive to sounds and smells, which made spending time with the kids more difficult. I didn’t want this to be the way his life ended.

“When we got to The Hospice of St Francis, we were made to feel so welcome. They took control and reassured us that his quality of life could be better and that we would be able to spend good time together as a family.”

Matt and his children at The Hospice of St Francis. Picture: Submitted by The Hospice of St FrancisMatt and his children at The Hospice of St Francis. Picture: Submitted by The Hospice of St Francis

Matt’s remembrance light is part of The Hospice of St Francis’ annual Light Up a Life Appeal, which invites everyone to dedicate a bulb to a loved one who has passed on a Tree of Remembrance.

Rebecca added: “[The hospice] helped Matt to manage his pain, they always had time to talk to us and I felt confident that Matt was now receiving the best care possible.

“They gave Matt hope – not that he could be cured, but that they could enable him to make special memories by spending more quality time with our children.”

The tree stands in the hospice grounds in Berkhamsted and will be illuminated throughout December.

Hospice CEO Kate Phipps-Wiltshire said: “This time of year can be particularly hard, especially for those who have suffered loss. Many people take comfort from knowing that the lights on our Tree of Remembrance symbolise a loved one and are shining brightly in their memory.

“Over winter, many more people will be spending time at the hospice and our staff work tirelessly to provide the very best of care when it is needed most.

“Any contributions the community makes to our Light up a Life Appeal will go towards the over £5million it costs us every year to keep our doors open and ensure we can continue to be there for families like Rebecca’s.”

The hospice helps 2,000 people across Herts and Bucks each year. Pledging a light is free. Find out more at www.stfrancis.org.uk/lual

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