Leamington Rotary Club Trees of Light: How Matt and his family found Christmas comfort at Myton Hospice
Support for families going through the most difficult times at Christmas can be funded by donations to the Myton Hospices through the Royal Leamington Spa Rotary Clubs Trees of Light campaign.
Leamington pub owner Matt Beresford, 45, spent his final months at the Warwick Myton Hospice in 2013 including Christmas Day.
Matt's three children still hold the charity close to their hearts after the hospice gave such good care to him.
Zoe, Matt's eldest daughter said: "Christmas Day was very surreal as dad was so poorly but it was amazing to all be together as a family.
"Dad always loved it when we were all home for Christmas and used to get excited for us to be together.
"We all opened our presents and had Christmas dinner together.
"Our grandpa and uncles even joined us for part of the day and were all made very welcome.
"The day was the best it could possibly be for us as a family. “
Not only did they spend Christmas Day at Myton but the nursing team also decorated Matt’s room so that the family could celebrate his youngest daughter Sophie’s 21st birthday.
Sophie, who worked as a press officer for the Myton Hospices for a time before she became a communications officer for Macmillan Cancer Support, now provides a column for the Courier and Kenilworth Weekly News which is centred around self care.
She said: “I never imagined waking up in a hospice on my 21st birthday but I can safely say that there is nowhere else I would have wanted to be. It meant so much to me to spend my birthday with dad and the rest of the family and I know it meant a lot to him too.
"The nursing team did all they could to make my birthday as enjoyable and as special as every other. “
Matt's son and youngest child Sam added: "Losing dad was an upsetting experience for us all but we are so grateful that he was at Myton and was able to receive the best care possible until the very end.
"A ‘thank you’ will never be enough to express how much we appreciate all Myton did for us as a family.”
Matt died on December 30 2013.
His children have since taken part in various fundraising challenges to support Myton.
Their mother, Audrey, said: "On Christmas Day morning, when I stood in the doorway of Matt’s room singing the Christmas carols with other families, I felt like I was dreaming.
I knew Matt could hear them and that it would make him happy , even if he could not join in.
We could of been anywhere that day but the fact that it was at the hospice didn't matter because it never felt like one. So much effort was made by the staff and volunteers for it to be so magical for us as a family.
I thought the mood would be sombre but the room was full of laughter and love.
I thought we would never want to celebrate Christmas again after having spent a Christmas at a hospice but because of how we were made to feel as a family, it has left a positive and long lasting memory in our lives which has allowed us to move forward and embrace all Christmases, despite how hard it is to no longer have Matt in our lives.
"He has left a mass hole in our family but his guidance, kindness, courage and love will stay with us forever. "
Last year The Myton Hospices supported more than 1,800 people and their families through their centres in Warwick, Coventry and Rugby.
The charity must raise more than £9 million towards the £12 million needed to continue to provide its services free of charge.
To donate online visit www.mytonhospice.org/TreesOfLight