Mum-of-four’s hospice week tribute salutes North Herts care team’s kindness

Laura Young and husband Gary McClumpha with their children Betty, Mae, Eduardo, Arthur.

Laura Young and husband Gary McClumpha with their children Betty, Mae, Eduardo, Arthur. - Credit: Archant

A mother-of-four whose husband and childhood sweetheart passed away on Mother’s Day after a battle with skin cancer has paid tribute to the hospice carers who helped her family get through the toughest of times.

Gary McClumpha died at the age of 48 on March 15, leaving behind his wife Laura Young – who was in the same year at Barnwell School in Stevenage – and children Betty, Mae, Eduardo and Arthur.

But in Hospice Care Week – which shines a light on the amazing work done by hospices across Hertfordshire – Laura stressed the importance of Letchworth’s Garden House Hospice, where Gary spent five days before he came home.

The 48-year-old, who works part-time as a teaching assistant at Northfields Infants and Nursery School in Letchworth, said: “To have Gary at home until he died wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the staff at the hospice.

“They worked together with the district nurse team, Macmillan nurses, and our local GP to ensure he was safe and as comfortable as possible.

“All these amazing people helped us as much as they could.

“As Gary got less mobile and eventually totally bed-bound, they tended to him in the morning and then helped me at night.

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“But they were there anytime if I needed it. It was difficult, and physically and emotionally painful, but we wanted life to be as normal as possible with the usual chaos of home life still going on around him.

“The important thing was we were able to spend the time he had left together.

“I will never forget the kindness of the two hospice nurses, Jackie Hastings and Gill Hughes, who came to see Gary for the last time.

“I was able to talk to the hospice nurses about anything and everything, or nothing at all, depending on how life was at that point.

“The hospice is there for me and the children now and in the future whenever we need, as it is for the many families who have lost someone they love to terminal illness.”

Find out more about Hospice Care Week