How boxes full of treats and kind words will be raising money for Weldmar
18th June 2023< BACK TO NEWS
Moments in the calendar, such as Father’s Day, can be difficult for family members after the loss of a loved one. But this Father’s Day, Paula Brittain and her family are starting something special to remember her Dad. The Brittain family have decided to raise money for Weldmar Hospicecare to say thank you for the amazing support the family had from their Weldmar Community Nurse and the Weldmar at Home team.
Paula along with younger sister Lara and mum Sandra, are launching Little P’s Treat Boxes where you can order a quality box of bespoke treats and cards for someone going through a difficult time, just as they were when dad Paul was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer in 2021.
Paula says, “We talked amongst ourselves and to others who had been through similar experiences to us and there was a feeling that people just didn’t know what to say to you. I felt that people almost avoided me when my dad had cancer, so we started to think about cards that could express the way that people feel. So if you don’t know what to say, you can order one of these nice boxes that come with a card, nice cakes, and you can even add things like fluffy socks, and pillow sprays that help you sleep.”
As well as the thoughtful messaging of the cards, the decision to create a box with treats also came from the family’s shared experience during their Dad’s illness. Cake formed quite an important part of the routine during Paul’s illness for Paula, Lara, and Sandra. On their way to get medication from the chemist, they would stop at a local farm shop and buy their favourite carrot cake. The simple routine of stopping for five minutes to have a cuppa and a piece of cake in the afternoon soon became a highlight of the day and gave the family something to look forward to during a very difficult time. So in the spirit of this ritual, Little P’s Treat Boxes have a range of generously sized cakes, cookies, muffins, and more to choose from.
Paula admits she had never heard of Weldmar Hospicecare until Paul’s diagnosis. “Cancer was something that happened to other people, it was another’s person’s problem,” she explains, “and we felt lucky that we were always together and healthy. But then it became our problem. It all came out of the blue, it happened so quickly and it was just a terrible time. We were referred to Weldmar and as Dad got more poorly, your [Weldmar’s] nurses and carers were coming in every day to help us.”
Emma, Weldmar’s Community Nurse for the Sherborne area, was assigned to Paul and Sandra said that it was comforting for her to know there was someone to call on. “Emma came in during the early stages when Paul was still able to go up and down stairs, and when she said she could arrange for nurses to come in, he said he wasn’t having it. He was a very proud man, very strong and independent, and Emma said ‘When you need us, we’ll be here.’ She didn’t want to be intrusive. But the fact that I could call her was so reassuring, and when Paul couldn’t get up and down the stairs, she provided contacts for a stairlift to be installed, and for a hospital bed when we needed that, and all those sort of things. I felt I could call anytime, and the support was unbelievable.”
Emma arranged for Weldmar at Home Carers to see Paul when the service began in July 2021.
Paula says, “It was rough, but because of Weldmar’s care, it was also amazing because we had that extra time with him, and nothing was left unsaid. It was really, really, hard but we were so thankful, and he was thankful he could stay at home. As it was in the middle of Covid, if he was in hospital we wouldn’t have been able to see him, which would have been awful.”
“We were a really close family, and the three of us were his world, so being able to stay at home was really important to him. He just wanted to be with us and spend as much time as he could with us. What was also incredible was the support they gave to us too. Not only did they come in and look after Dad and the practicalities of things like pain medication, but they were so kind to us. I remember that one day Lara and I were in the living room crying and one of the nurses came in and said it was the worst part and explained things. It’s difficult to articulate just what Weldmar did for us as a family.”
Although the family held a coffee and cake event earlier in the year that raised more than a thousand pounds, Paula says they want to support Weldmar on a longer-term basis. “Look at what you did for us! We saw that Weldmar needs to raise £26,000 a day to keep going, but the support we had was absolutely priceless. This is the least we can do. We got quite excited about the idea of the boxes and thought we could really do it, and give it a go! If we can do some good from what’s happened to Dad, it means he hasn’t died in vain, that good can come from bad, and I know how much this would have meant to him.”
Sandra, who also volunteers in Weldmar’s charity shop in Yeovil, says she hopes that they can continue to support Weldmar as Little P’s Treat Boxes grows as a business. “The coffee morning was great, but didn’t feel like enough. This is ongoing, and the more successful it is, the more money we can raise to support those services.”
“It’s really important for us that Weldmar is there for other families in future,” adds Paula. “We’re going to give it our all to make it successful, because where would we have been without Weldmar?”