A Lichfield man, whose wife died of cancer, is urging people to buy a raffle ticket to support a local cause close to his heart.

For Ken Hood, the loss of his wife Maureen to cancer, just a matter of months after she was diagnosed, was just devastating.

Maureen was supported by the St Giles Hospice team and Ken is now urging local people to support the hospice through this year’s Summer Raffle.

“I nursed Maureen in her final weeks and the support provided by St Giles during those last weeks and following Maureen’s death was invaluable,” he said.

“The nursing team looked after Maureen so well when she stayed in the hospice and, when she decided that she wanted to go home, our community nurse did everything he could to help us get her there.

“The care staff came every day to help Maureen and to support me. On the day she died the nurse told me it was time to say goodbye, so I was able to bring the family together for her last hours.

“I’d like to make sure as many people as possible get the support they need at a tough time, as I did, so I am urging everyone to buy a ticket or a few to help St Giles.”

The couple, who met when they were working in neighbouring shops, were married for 58 years until Maureen died in February 2017.

“She was an absolute cracker, a wonderful woman with a great sense of humour and a fantastic mother to our two girls,” he said.

“One minute we were shopping for clothes for a cruise and the next we were at the hospital, trying to take in the news that she had cancer.

“We were together for a lifetime and I miss her every day. I kiss her picture 15 times every night because that’s what she loved, 15 kisses.”

Ken has also received fantastic support through the St Giles Lichfield Bereavement Help Point, which he has been attending since last summer.

The Help Point is run by a team of St Giles volunteers and takes place on a Wednesday afternoon at Tesco Lichfield’s community room between 2.30-4.30pm.

“It’s a brilliant place to spend time as everyone understands where I am coming from and knows what I’ve been through,” he said.

“I can be honest, share how I feel and cry if I want to and at the same time I can enjoy a laugh with the group if that’s how I feel too.

“The group has been a lifesaver for me over the last year and I’m so grateful I found it.”

St Giles Lottery Manager, Alison Jerram, said “I’d like to thank Ken for his support for our Summer Raffle, which is an important part of our fundraising and helps us to support families like his who are living with a potentially incurable illness.

“Our Summer Raffle last year raised more than £75,000, as well as giving people a chance to win some amazing prizes.  We hope this year, with the support of our local community, we will raise even more.

“Raffle packs are being sent out to existing supporters and tickets are also available online at https:/www.stgileshospice.com/raffle as well as at the hospice or by calling the lottery office on 01543 434020.

“We’d like to thank everyone who buys a ticket – the amazing support of our local community really makes a difference to the families we care for. I am so pleased we were able to be there for Ken and Maureen when they needed us.”