Personal Stories

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Margaret’s Story…

David Mugford shares the story of his wife Margaret who left a legacy in her will to help others who will follow her journey.

Margaret Mugford Final

Margaret Mugford was an active, sociable lady with a keen interest in supporting her community and helping others. As her husband David was in the Air Force for 16 years and always on the move, Margaret was happy to finally settle in Fareham and immerse herself in community life.

Margaret volunteered in the charitable sector for many years, organising events and in particular, quiz nights, raising around £11,000 to support people affected by cancer. When she was diagnosed with cancer herself, her colleagues at the Office for National Statistics where she worked embarked on their own fundraising efforts, inspired by Margaret’s dedication and enthusiasm.

Throughout her illness Margaret demonstrated great strength of character and courage. She would tell her many friends, children and grandchildren, whom she called her ‘best medicine’ to ‘come in, give me a hug and make me laugh’ when they visited, whilst Margaret’s husband David describes her as ‘a life lived with a smile’.

Margaret sadly died at Countess Mountbatten House on 5th June 2013, following support at home by our Clinical Nurse Specialists. In thanks for the care she had received and the compassion and understanding shown by the staff, Margaret chose to leave a legacy in her will to CMHC. It was her wish that these funds should be ‘used to provide services and care for those who will follow her journey’. Margaret’s legacy will make a lasting difference to our hospice; helping us to build a stronger and more sustainable future for all those who need the support of our service.

If you would like more information on leaving a gift in your will, please see our Legacy Giving page.


Sheila’s memories of CMH…

Sheila Lees Final

From assistant doctor at Countess Mountbatten House in 1978 to chair of trustees for the charity almost 20 years later, Sheila Lees shares some of her fondest moments over the past 36 years.

1978 was an important time in the growth of the Hospice movement and a significant time in my life. I knew I had a passion for palliative medicine and my family were old enough for me to go back into serious medicine. I was thrilled to get a job as an assistant doctor at Countess Mountbatten House, which had only been established for several months.

Over nearly 20 years I met many patients. Of course it was sad but balanced by so many opportunities to relieve suffering and allow some to fulfil wishes.  Inpatients were visited by favourite pets, including a pony and after help with pain relief and the help of the team, were delighted to feel strong enough to attend family occasions or to go home and resume a near normal life.

For me the rewards of working at CMH were great. I realised that many were benefitting; the patients and their families but also the staff in many disciplines and the volunteers. All there to help the patients but also to give of themselves, make friends and support each other.

Since retiring as a doctor in 1996, I have remained involved with CMH Charity and am now the Chair of Trustees; a position from which I am also retiring later this year. My role as a Trustee has meant that I have seen from a different perspective, the growth and expansion of both the hospice service and the charity.  Whilst I shall miss my involvement in such an important and imaginative service, I know that many patients continue to benefit from our support and care and that the charity is actively raising funds to ensure that the best possible care and some extras, are provided.


Tea, care and conversationVincent Oliver final

For 3 years, Vincent Oliver has been volunteering at Countess Mountbatten House following a career in care work. He tells us why he finds volunteering with us so rewarding…

My name is Vincent Oliver and I have been volunteering at CMH since retiring from work in 2011. On Tuesday afternoons I help on the tea bar in the day room of the in-patient unit, which has recently been refurbished. This role involves making teas and coffees for relatives and visitors but also providing a listening ear for people to talk about how they feel or how they’re coping. I’m always amazed at how much people want to share their experiences or situation but I think that because volunteers don’t wear a uniform, visitors feel ‘freer’ and more relaxed speaking to us. At times I see relatives week after week and often a positive rapport builds up. This is helpful when once a month I make refreshments for the ‘Afternoon Tea’ bereavement sessions, in which relatives share their experiences of loss.

People often ask why I do this type of volunteering and say they couldn’t deal with it themselves. Having worked in the caring profession for many years helps enormously, but as importantly, both my parents died of cancer in 2002 at a hospice and both had very positive experiences there. I was always most impressed with the volunteers; nothing was too much trouble for them and it encouraged me to consider volunteering myself on retirement.

For me, volunteering at CMH has two key aspects: firstly, making patients’ and relatives’ experiences of the hospice as positive as possible and secondly, the gratification felt from spending time listening, talking and supporting people during a challenging time. Whilst it can be sad, a lot of the time it’s not because as a team, the volunteers are recognised for giving added value to the work of CMH and helping to enhance the hospice experience for patients and their families.

If you would like more information on becoming a volunteer, please see our Volunteering page.

Joan’s Wish…

Joan Jagoe Final

David Jagoe tells us his mother’s story and why he and his family continue to support CMH Charity.

My Mother, Joan Jagoe, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in late 2010 and we quickly knew there was little the doctors could do to help her.  As time progressed, she became increasingly unwell and spent time in a local hospital before being transferred to Countess Mountbatten Hospice.

When I first visited the hospice, I was immediately struck by the calm environment, which didn’t look scary and austere like most hospitals. My Mother was placed in a large room that never had more than two or three other ladies in. Her bed was by the window and looked out onto a lovely garden.  As this was March 2011, the weather was starting to improve and Spring came to the garden. She felt safe and at peace.

My Father was no longer able to drive so the wonderful volunteers drove him to the hospice everyday to see my Mother, for which he was so grateful. They enjoyed sitting in the garden together on mild days. I was touched by the caring manner of the staff, who kept in contact with me. Although she was in pain and not eating much, my Mother enjoyed the food and occasional gin and tonic.

Late in the evening of 11 April 2011, my Father called to say my Mother was seriously ill. Sadly, she died before I arrived, but I was so relieved to find out that a nurse had sat with her to comfort her. The day before she died, we had the difficult discussion regarding her funeral. My Mother was very clear that she didn’t want any flowers and that donations should go to Countess Mountbatten Hospice Charity.

Since my Mother died, my partner, family, friends and I have raised over £10,000 for the hospice, in addition to gift aid.  We are happy to think that this small amount of fund raising will help others. One way that we have done this in recent years, is by donating a Harrods hamper and two teddy bears to be raffled at Christmas.

I remain very grateful to the staff at the hospice for the care and dignity that was provided to my Mother, support to my Father and peace of mind to my family and me.

If you would like more information on organising your own fundraising event or supporting ours, please visit our Events page.


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