Noel’s story

By Jane Martin

Noel and I lived in the Cotswolds and met at second school. We were an item at school until he moved away with his parents. He always kept in touch and would quite often turn up to see me. Noel led a very full life. He travelled to many places in the world. He lived in a Kibbutz in Israel. He was very much a people person, wherever he went he made friends. He was always happy to help people and his kindness to others was to his credit. He loved his family and was so proud of his two daughters and their achievements.

Ten years ago Noel and I met up again. We had both gone our separate ways, had families and had history. My fondest memory was on Valentines day in 2011, on my return from work at 10pm, he was sat on the stairs waiting for me with a rose, a supper on the table with a vase a red roses, on my bed a single rose. So romantic and never to be repeated. After this we had a wonderful relationship together with holidays, family and friends.

In November 2015, Noel was diagnosed with throat cancer, he attended Poole Hospital for radiotherapy and chemotherapy. It was a dreadful time to see him endure the treatment and be in so much pain. This was a man who loved his food, wine and life, it had all been destroyed by this awful cancer and the treatment, only being able to have fluid food through a tube into his stomach. The support he had from the consultant and nursing team was second to none. He was given the all clear several months later and continued to recover, he visited his home in France growing his vegetables enjoying the good life, seeing friends, he was renowned for his huge curry nights sometimes with 25 plus people. He was an excellent cook.
Noel continued to get back on track and we started to enjoy our life together again.

In July 2018, the cancer returned, this time the cancer had travelled up into his head and left eye, the consultant said it was the same type of cancer. Operating was considered too risky, so Noel started treatment again. This was when we got introduced to Forest Holme pain management team and lymphoedema clinic. Noel’s goal was to walk his daughter down the aisle in November 2019, a big feat for him, but he made it. All his pleasures in life were being taken from him, but with the help of Forest Holme he carried on. Nothing was too much trouble for the hospice to provide home comforts and pain relief for Noel. Near to the end, a bed was delivered to the lounge and nursing care visited daily. The pain management nurse contacted me daily to see how Noel was and helping with advise. Because of COVID all visits had to stop. The team also supported me at this difficult time and counselling was offered to which I am still having. Before Noel died he donated £500 to the hospice as a thank you.

Noel left a wish list of items to give to friends, one was for his friend Martin to have his old, ‘Stumpy’ mountain bike to do as he thought best. The pair had enjoyed many bike rides together in their youth, their friendship had started in Israel. Martin looked into the history of the bike, and discovered the shop where Noel had bought it 40 plus years ago was still in existence, the owners remember selling the bike to Noel as a first of its kind. With this in mind Martin decided to sell the bike to an appreciative collector, as the bike has some scarcity value. He got £250, so donated this to Forest Holme as this is what Noel would have wanted. I presented the cheque to Kirsty at the Yellow Ribbon event. With gift aid it made it £300.

The Forest Holme Hospice team deserve to be supported more by the government, donations are not always enough. Their care, support, kindness and dedication is second to none. I will continue to support you.

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