‘Throughout her entire illness, our sister Pat had such tremendous courage.

We all saw her strength of character. She never let on that she was in pain and only got upset once in the year and four months that she was ill. She never cried or showed she was scared.

Pat had fibrosis of the lungs and would go for regular check-ups at the hospital, and it was over Christmas time in 2020 that she got sick with pneumonia. Because of Covid she wasn’t getting seen as regularly at the hospital for her check-ups. Just a few months later in the May of 2021 she was diagnosed with cancer and had to sit down to tell us all.

Pat got the whole family together at Guy’s and St Thomas’s Hospital for a meeting with the Consultants to give us the news of her diagnosis. When we were told, our whole world collapsed. We all thought ‘this can’t be happening’, so soon after our mum recently passed away.

It was a poignant moment, at the end of the meeting at the hospital, the Consultants said if there was anything more they could do, she said: “if I could live a little longer.” It was the saddest of things to hear and has stayed with us.

Preparing for end of life

As a family we had been familiar with Royal Trinity Hospice for many years, with some of us living locally in south London. Sadly, we lost our brother, Tyrone, to cancer of the pancreas in September 2002. Tyrone was only 49 and at the time, we had said we wished he had spent his last days at Trinity, knowing of the charity locally.  

When Patricia knew that her diagnosis was terminal, she talked about how much she wanted to come to Trinity, it was where she wanted to be for her final days.

We watched a video together that was on the hospice’s website and the place had a nice vibe. It looked like a comforting place, and the fact that we could come and visit was something we liked.

Pat was excited to come here and was admitted in September 2022 under the care of the team on the inpatient unit for a month. All of the staff were so accommodating to Pat’s needs, our needs – it became like a second home.

The sisters all together, Pat (second from the right) 

A place to feel at home

We all came to love this place, we would walk around the gardens, and just absolutely everybody right down to the canteen staff were so wonderful.

We wanted to do something special together in the hospice and a nurse suggested an afternoon tea. My goodness the spread! The size of the cakes they gave us, what a pleasure to see Pat enjoying cake on that day.

It meant a lot that we could stay overnight, so Pat could be comforted, and we could be with her. Three days before she died, we all stayed with Pat, one night each. The staff brought us a bed to stay by Pat's bedside, offered us meals, making sure we had everything we needed.


Acting on patient and family requests is really important at Trinity - such as cream teas round the bedside 

Near the end of her life, Pat would talk to us and tell our other sister ‘Jeanette, I know it’s my time.’ There was a calmness to Pat, and she finally accepted what was happening with great courage.

Before Pat died, she spent time with our younger sister Jenny and they went to visit a little shop that sold religious trinkets and gifts. Pat picked out three silver small angels, and three cards conveying special words about remembering her and getting on with our lives.

By the time she wanted to write them, she was too ill and already in the hospice, and with just days left to live, she got my sister to write us the thank you cards, slipping the religious verses inside and the angels in a lovely velvet pouch. They were given to us after she passed away. It was a very beautiful thing to do but was so sad for us to read. Right to the end she continued to be thoughtful.

Respectful and caring all the way through

Pat died at the end of October in 2022 and we can still remember how the nurses took care of her even after she died.

When they came to take care of Pat’s body, when they were washing her, they spoke to her. Even though she had died, the staff remained beautiful – caring and respectful towards her. Speaking her name, telling her what they were doing and still addressing her as a person.

Loved in her community

On the day of her funeral, all of her neighbours came out to see her off and came to her wake.

My sister lived in sheltered housing and they had all clubbed together to raise some money in remembrance of Pat which was very touching. After they gave us the money, we all decided to donate the collection to Trinity.

One of Pat’s last requests was that instead of wreaths or flowers for her funeral, friends and family should donate to Trinity. That raised over £1,200 and we know Pat would have been happy that she was able to give something back to Trinity for the wonderful care she received.

She had worked all her life in the Brixton branch of Boots as a healthcare advisor and all her customers loved her. When she wasn’t there, customers would ask ‘where is Pat’? I think they liked her straight talking and polite manner, which even won her an award at work.

A close family

Our family is originally from Sri Lanka and our sister loved to travel. She had been all around the world, including: Sri Lanka, Australia, Mauritius and America and was always making friends on those trips.

One of our last trips we had together was an all-sister holiday, the four of us: myself, Pat, Jeanette and Jenny. We spent time together during Pat's last summer in Cyprus.

It was a wonderful holiday but also a bittersweet one, as we knew it would be our last one altogether. We have a wonderful video we took of her one day out on a boat trip. She’s stood waving out the front of the boat smiling.”

Pat, here on the right enjoying the waves with her sisters on a special family holiday 


Thanks to family members Christine, Jeanette, and Jenny for telling their story, making it available for other patients, families and Trinity supporters to read.