In Memory of Andy McMinn by Nicola McMinn
Andy was born in Oxford. He was posted to Poole as he was a Royal Marine Commando, a job he was very proud of. We met and married in 1991 and started a life travelling near and far, with Turkey being a particular favourite destination of ours, which we visited for the last time in 2017. At home Andy would already be planning the next trip away!
Andy was a keen sportsman, especially rugby, which he played for the Royal Marines, Lytchett Minster RFC and Swanage and Wareham RFC. One of the many tributes paid to Andy was that he was a gentleman both on and off the pitch. After a rugby match in November 2017, Andy started to suffer severe stomach pains and after numerous GP and A&E visits he was fast-tracked to Poole Hospital. In January 2018 we were told the worst possible news that Andy had terminal cancer.
Andy took it on the chin as usual until he was admitted to Sandbanks Ward later that same month and unfortunately was told the Big C had spread and no more could be done for him. At the end of January a bed became available at Forest Holme, initially to help his pain management, with the hope that he’d be able to return home to his two dogs and, of course, me.
From day one, nothing was ever too much trouble at Forest Holme. There was always somebody with a cheerful smile to talk through and explain what was going on. My Mum had been a volunteer in a charity shop set-up 26 years ago to help raise funds to build the hospice but we just never expect to have to use it ourselves.
The nurses made it possible for me to take Andy to Poole Quay for coffee at the end of January which was a lovely afternoon. Andy sat on the bench with his two fingers up to the Big C!
Unfortunately, by the Friday we were told Andy had renal failure and it was just a matter of time.
He passed away with dignity and peacefully early on 3rd February 2018 with me by his side.
The support myself, my family and friends received from counselling was wonderful. I still go to a monthly Bereavement Support group meeting and find going through the doors a comfort.
Forest Holme Hospice was one of Andy’s chosen charities and with over 500 people attending his funeral, we had a lovely donation to give them.
Since then I have done the Fire and Ice Walk, walking over hot coals and broken glass, raising £1,000, while Lytchett Minster RFC organised an Ascot Day in Andy’s memory that raised over £3,000. A memorial game at Swanage and Wareham RFC also raised £4,600 for the charity, making over £10,000 for the hospice in total.
Andy wouldn’t believe how popular a person he was and the legend lives on with more events planned later this year. The care and support given by Forest Holme is priceless, so if we can pay a small amount back we will try our hardest. Thank you is a small word.