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Gedling man fronts Hospice’s Light up a Life appeal in memory of beloved wife

Frank Shaw is fronting the hospice’s Light up a Life appeal – launched to raise vital funds to help patients and their families.


When Frank Shaw stood up to deliver a eulogy at his wife Joan’s funeral, he started with the words: “I’m going to tell you a love story.” 

Nottinghamshire Hospice played its part in that story by providing a care package enabling the couple to be together in their Gedling home in the weeks before Joan died in February.

Now, as Frank faces his first Christmas without Joan, he is fronting the hospice’s Light up a Life appeal – launched to raise vital funds to help patients and their families.

Frank, who shares his story in a heartrending video to launch the appeal, said: “Without the hospice I don’t know how I would have coped. When my wife came out of hospital we wouldn’t have been able to manage without the hospice care. It enabled me to bring her home.

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“Now the hospice needs to raise money to help other people in the situation we were in, and I’m happy to do what I can to help.”

Joan had been treated successfully for Breast Cancer in 2016 but two years later developed another tumour and after undergoing chemotherapy, radiotherapy and two mastectomies, she learnt her illness couldn’t be cured. 

Frank and Joan were referred to Nottinghamshire Hospice and initially came to the Therapy and Wellbeing unit together, until Joan became more poorly and was taken into hospital. 

The couple, who had been together 42 years, had rarely spent time apart, so when Joan was in hospital Frank found it very hard being apart from her and wanted to bring her home. Nottinghamshire Hospice put together a package of care to enable this to happen. 

“We had two carers come four times a day and on several occasions we had nurses who stayed all night when I was getting tired. It allowed me to get some rest,” said Frank, “and the wonderful thing about these services is they are free.”

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The Light up a Life appeal invites people to remember those they’ve lost by dedicating a light on the hospice tree, lighting up the hospice tower in memory of a loved one or purchasing special edition festive Forget-Me-Not pin badges. 

Frank will also be switching on the lights on the hospice Tree of Lights at a special event on Sunday 11th December where people will come together to remember loved ones.  

“Light up a life is a wonderful idea, which will bring people together at that time of year when we remember loved ones particularly,” said Frank

“Joan was the light of my life – she lit up my life. Now we need to light up other people’s lives by supporting the Light up a Life appeal.”

Frank himself has an incurable illness – axonal peripheral neuropathy which causes numbness and tingling in the feet and hands and muscle weakness. He now attends the Hospice’s Therapy and Wellbeing unit for massage and other activities. 

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“The massage treatment relaxes my legs, and coming to the unit keeps me occupied,” Frank added. 

“I’m lost without Joan. She gave me life, but coming here gives me a chance to talk about her. The hospice is a fantastic place. The whole organisation is marvellous.”

Nottinghamshire Hospice’s care continues day and night throughout the year, with Christmas no exception. Throughout the festive season, nursing teams will be out and about across the city and county caring for people in the last weeks, days and hours of their lives. 

Paul Hawkins, Community Fundraiser at Nottinghamshire Hospice said: “Frank’s story is a perfect illustration of how our services work together to help patients and their families. We’re proud to have played a part in their story and pleased that we’re able to continue supporting Frank in his grief.

“We’re so grateful to Frank for helping us spread the word about our Light up a Life appeal which will raise vital funds to help our patients and their families during the festive season and beyond.

“There are so many pressures on our patients and their families and carers, particularly at the moment with cost of living increases, so it’s all the more important that our care can continue free of charge.”

People can support the appeal by:

  • Dedicating a light on the hospice tree
  • Joining together at the Light up a Life event on 11th December
  • Purchasing a special edition festive Forget-Me-Not pin badge
  • Donating to light up the hospice’s historic tower for a night in memory of a loved one. 

For more information about the Light up a Life Appeal go to:

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  1. Strength and success to him in his endeavors, amazing stories of devotion and love, may each of us have the same strong love for our closest people, I hope he really succeeds and he will push only with understanding and support in his undertaking


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