Tim Bagnall had lived with a type of bone marrow cancer, since 2008, and in February 2015 he came to the hospice’s Inpatient Unit. After a few weeks, his wife Yvette stayed there too so they could be together and was with him when he died just a day after his 48th birthday. Yvette tells their story…

The most striking memory I have of the hospice was Valentine’s Day. I had gone home to feed the cat and it all felt frantic travelling between the Inpatient Unit and home. Tim at this time couldn’t walk, he was in a wheelchair. While I’d been gone, he had been taken to Tesco and helped to get me flowers and a Valentine’s card.

He was really ill at this time. Upon my return hospice staff had set up a table and we had wine, flowers in a vase - it was amazing. He was dead two weeks later.

Tim was quite a reserved character; he had a very dry sense of humour and was a really kind person. He was very healthy and active. He always wanted to walk around, do physical things. I think that’s what’s really cruel; cancer is such a horrible thing.

I suppose I had been waiting for ages knowing I had to be prepared for this, but then when it actually happened it was like, what do I do now?

I was just staring at him. I could feel he wasn’t breathing so I knew he had died.

So I rang the bell to call the nurse and she said ‘I’ll leave you on your own with him for a while and when you want me to come in let me know’. The nurses sorted out the various people who had been arriving to see him and I thought how that was handled was amazing because I didn’t feel that I had to be rushed. I was allowed to spend time with him. I was vaguely aware that things were happening but I was in shock, I didn’t know what my name was, I was distressed.

Afterwards you get an information pack about what you need to do next; you don’t know what to do, you don’t know who you’re supposed to contact.

I felt they really supported me and I was offered counselling if I wanted. I just wanted to not talk about it for a while.

I hope that when I die, depending on the circumstances, that I’ll be somewhere like this and so well looked after. Sitting out in the garden is beautiful. Tim used to really enjoy being wheeled out there just to get some fresh air on his face, to look at the water. It’s lovely; the cat and everything makes it like a home.

I know that Tim felt more confident being in the hospice.

I think he felt nervous about being at home with just me, so it was a relief coming here where you could feel safe and secure and know these people know what they are talking about.

They try to make sure your standard and quality of life is maintained. Dignity, they preserve your dignity.

A doctor came around every single day to ask how he was feeling. I was consulted as well. The other friends and family that visited were also respected and were made to feel like their opinion really mattered; you can often feel as though you are a spare limb when someone you are with is ill, but I felt very welcome.

I contacted the hospice to ask if I could visit the Inpatient Unit on his anniversary and when I arrived they asked me if I wanted a drink and they had reserved the quiet room for me as if I was the only person who comes here. I was left alone to have time with my thoughts. It helps with your closure I think if you can mark the anniversary.

They make you feel like it’s just you and I think that’s incredible. I can’t think of anything worse that has happened to me in my whole life. It was done in the best possible way, if you can have an OK situation out of a terrible situation. I’m so glad we were here.

Contact Information

To contact the St Helena Fundraising team, please telephone 01206 931 468 or email fundraising@sthelena.org.uk , Monday to Friday between 9.00am and 5.00pm.


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24 hour advice: SinglePoint 01206 890 360

SinglePoint is a 24/7 advice and support helpline which helps to coordinate an individual’s care with the hospice. SinglePoint also works alongside other healthcare services such as GPs, Community Nurses or Specialists.

The Hospice

To contact a patient at The Hospice please find the address and telephone number below. Phone calls can be made to patients at any time of the day or week. You can contact Inpatient Services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The Hospice, Myland Hall, Barncroft Close, Highwoods, Colchester, C04 9JU

Telephone: 01206 845 566

Hospice in the Home

You can contact The Hospice in the Home Team Monday to Friday, between 9.00am and 5.00pm on:

Colchester/Halstead team
Telephone: 01206 845 566

Tendring community team
Telephone: 01255 221 222

Day Therapies

You can contact the Joan Tomkins Centre (Colchester) Monday to Friday between 9.00am and 5.00pm on:

Telephone: 01206 848 163

Fax: 01206 752 245

You can contact the St Helena Tendring Centre (Clacton) Monday to Friday, between 9.00am and 5.00pm on 01255 221 222

Tendring Centre Postcode for Sat Navs: CO15 1EU

Human Resources

The HR Team can be contacted Monday to Friday between 9.00am and 5.00pm on 01206 931 466

Finance Team

To contact the St Helena Finance Team please telephone 01206 931 450 Monday to Friday, 9.00am to 5.00pm

Volunteer Services Team

The Volunteer Services team can be contacted Monday to Friday between 9.00am and 5.00pm on 01206 931 466

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For all media enquiries between 9.00am and 5.00pm, Monday to Friday, please phone the Marketing and Communications team directly on 01206 931 464

Patient Referrals

If you, or a member of your family has a life-limiting illness and would like to discuss whether St Helena care services can help, you can contact the SinglePoint telephone service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 01206 890 360

Bereavement Support

To contact the St Helena Bereavement Support team please telephone the bereavement helpline: 01206 984 274, Monday to Friday, 9.00am to 5.00pm

Learning and Development Centre

The Learning and Development Centre is open Monday to Friday between 9.00am and 5.00pm and can be contacted on 01206 851 560

Service User Group

For more information on the St Helena Service User Group please contact Chair, Ken Aldred on 01206 751 397

Facilities Hire Enquiries

01206 851560


To contact the Lottery team please call 0800 285 1390 or visit the website here, Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm.

If you would like to write to or visit the Lottery team, the address is: Your Hospice Lottery Office Unit 6 The Atrium, Phoenix Square, Wyncolls Road, Colchester CO4 9AS.

Comment, compliment or complaint

Feedback, comments and complaints about St Helena care and support services may be made verbally or in writing to: Director of Care, St Helena, Myland Hall, Barncroft Close, Highwoods, Colchester, CO4 9JU. To speak to a member of our team, call 01206 845 566