Former hospice nurse, now volunteer chaplain, tells first story from the frontline.

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Venetia Hopkins worked as a nurse at Weston Hospicecare for a decade before retiring.

She has embarked on a new role supporting the Family Support Team as a Volunteer Chaplain.

Her love for giving frontline palliative care enables her to become close to those at the most difficult time of life.

In this newly-created written series, Venetia will share the stories from the frontline.

Venetia’s first tale…

“A treasured patient was given a deeply shocking diagnosis at the start of June. She had been told she had life-threatening pancreatic cancer.

“Andrea Bonetti loved nature and was a skilled commercial artist. What she was told earlier this year would change her life forever.

“Aged just 50, she had lived a successful commercial career and had recently ventured onto her own path of creative art. She recreated the beauty of her local area in Somerset through paintings.

“Sadly, she died at Jackson-Barstow House but was surrounded by a wealth of affection as her husband describes, at the end of August.”

How did the hospice help Andrea and her family?

“At first they were able to continue to live their normal lives within the COVID-19 restrictions. But, gradually they realised it would be best for her to become an Inpatient at Weston Hospicecare.

“This enabled Andrea to rest and, when visiting restrictions relaxed, her children, husband and dog could visit at the same time.

“Thanks to the hospice, they could still maximise and enjoy their lives together as a family. There was a pull-down bed in her room so that her husband could stay the night whenever he needed or wanted to.

“It was arranged for her to have a home visit while she was still strong enough for the journey. It was a chance for Andrea to see her beloved home and garden once more, along with making everyone realise that nursing her at the hospice was far more practical for them all.

“The hospice allowed her to cope emotionally with her diagnosis. She could spend time with her parents, siblings and friends. Her family continued to make memories with her, watching movies together or reading to her in her room, or taking her to enjoy the sun in the gardens.

“She filled some of her time writing letters to the children and starting a memory box.

“She had many long-established friends and was loved and admired in her local community as well as being cherished by her husband and two children.”

“Surrounded by this wealth of affection, Andrea died peacefully at the end of August.”

Inspired by Venetia’s account? Andrea’s husband, Matt Bonetti is raising money to supporting Weston Hospicecare.

Visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/andrea-bonetti to support his efforts.

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