When Nicola Castell sets off on next month’s Girls’ Night Out charity walk she will reflect on last year’s event, when her husband was at the Bury St Edmunds hospice.
Nicky, as she is best known, and husband Paul witnessed the excitement of St Nicholas Hospice Care’s biggest fund-raiser first-hand as staff and volunteers were busy preparing for the annual event.
“I saw the whole of the hospice getting ready for it – cars going out and about, volunteers coming in, and I read the memory boards afterwards,” said Nicky adding: “I said to myself that I would definitely do it next year.”
Paul, a groundsman at Finborough School, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in May 2013 and admitted to the hospice four months later.
“He was poorly from the word go, but the chemo destroyed him. The weight dropped off and he was in bed all the time.
“However, he fought the cancer as much as he could because he didn’t want to leave us,” said Nicky, who described Paul as a supportive husband and fun-loving family man.
She added: “It was frightening at first to go to the hospice, but it was so lovely there and relaxed. I used to take the dogs – two cocker spaniels – and our son Henry, of course.”
And when the time came, the hospice made arrangements for him to spend his final days at home.
Nicky said: “They knew he didn’t have long and they turned it around so quickly. They got Paul home for two weeks before he passed.
“They sorted out full-time carers and nurses. That meant I could have him home with Henry and me, and be supported at the same time.”
He died on October 1, aged 49.
“I still can’t believe he is not here,” said Nicky. “I should have had him for longer and Henry, who’s only three, should have his daddy around.”
Nicky, owner of Just Hair salon, in Great Barton, will be joined by five members of her team on the moonlight walk around Bury on September 13.
She will also be donating all the salon’s takings on the day and her staff will be donating their tips.
“We’ve decided to do it together – we thought it was something different and that it looked like fun,” said Nicky, who is also running a fund-raising raffle and a lucky dip from now until the big day.
“I know Paul will be watching us when we do Girls Night Out so I’m really keen to raise as much money for the hospice as possible,” she said.
To register to take part, visit www.stnicholashospicecare.org.uk