Basil so keen to repay charity for all its help

A WIDOWER has spoken of his efforts to repay his debt of gratitude he feels towards a charity that helped care for his wife in her final days.

On September 24, Macmillan Cancer Care expects that across 1,000 venues in Norfolk, kettles will be boiling and donations rolling in for its fundraiser The World’s Biggest Coffee Morning.

And former navy lieutenant Basil Seymour, 80, will be holding one of these nationwide get-togethers to say thank-you for the help offered to Mary before she died in 1985.

“I would have cracked up, I’m sure I would, if it hadn’t been for the Macmillan nurse,” said Basil, who lost Mary to lymphoma when she was 50 years old.

Twice misdiagnosed, Mary started on her four-year course of therapy while continuing to run a company with her husband. However, as the lymphoma developed Basil needed to care for his wife more and more. Towards the end of her life he was required to give morphine to her every four hours, 24 hours a day.

It was at this point, in the final week of his wife’s life, that he was offered the assistance he needed.

“I hadn’t heard of the charity, but I was told of two Macmillan nurses in a nearby hospital.

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“Unfortunately I was out of their coverage area, but one of them gave up her spare time to help me.

“It was very tough beforehand, and I was extremely grateful for the help.

“She explained so many things to me, like how to turn Mary and what to give her to drink – all the practical things I had no clue about.”

With the help of the nurse, who worked her day job after helping Basil overnight, he was able to get a few precious hours sleep.

And thanks to Macmillan, Mary was also able to see through her final wish – to pass away in the familiar and comforting surroundings of her own home in Hertfordshire, something they had previously been told was impossible.

It was as part of “repaying the debt” he felt he owed to the charity that Basil, who moved to Thurne shortly after his wife’s death, takes part in The World’s Biggest Coffee morning.

Across Norfolk there are hopes that �200,000 will be raised by the gatherings, which can be anything from golf days to village parties, and last year �7.9m was raised nationally.

The money would go towards things such as adding to the staff of 50 in the county and the mobile cancer information centre.

“People will just pop in anytime from 8am till 1pm and have a mardle and discuss village gossip and quietly enjoy themselves,” added Basil.

“There’s no pressure, I don’t do raffles or anything, I just have a little fundraising box on the side.

“I just think Macmillan are magnificent and if anyone in my village faces the problems that I did I’m sure they will be the first group they think of.”

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