BLOG: How experience of St Luke’s care inspired Midnight Walk co-sponsor

When Gordon Maunder’s mother, Christine, was approaching the end of her life, St Luke’s was there by the family’s side, enabling her to spend her last days, comfortably and without pain, in her own home.

This memorable first-hand experience of St Luke’s services inspired Gordon, company chairman of Marchand Petit estate agents, to make the business proud co-sponsors of this year’s Midnight Walk.

Gordon describes his mother as “small, dark and dangerous”, and a lover of playing bridge and gardening. She had been receiving treatment for ovarian cancer before learning that her illness was terminal. A dear grandmother and great grandmother, she died in February 2022 aged 88.

“She was only 5ft but no pushover! The one thing she didn’t want was to go into hospital to die,” said Gordon. “It was massively important to Mum to be in her own home at Wembury that she absolutely loved.

“She knew she had reached that point of no return… it was one of those terrible moments. My sisters and I were absolutely at our wit’s end, not knowing what to do and how to help Mum. When the ladies from St Luke’s came through the door it was like the Ghostbusters had arrived.

“They took control and everything they did was efficient and carried out with compassion. Mum was immediately made to feel comfortable. She was a mad keen gardener, and the dining room was made into a bedroom for her so she could see her garden out of the window.

For all our sakes we were immensely grateful. We knew which stage of the journey we were at, and we felt less stressed by the fact that she was out of pain and less stressed herself. We took it in turns to constantly be with her, and my father, Graham, who now lives with us.

St Luke’s provides a fabulous service. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you are, they are there for you.”

Gordon will be at the Midnight Walk start line at Plymouth Argyle’s Home Park this Friday night to cheer on his wife, Penny, 14-year-old daughter, Hettie, and a team of Marchand Petit colleagues, including Sarah Baines, Sarah Douglas and Helen Harris, as they set off on the six-mile route.

Helen will be striding the streets in memory of her Dad, who received care from St Luke’s at home before his death eight years ago.

“Dad had a brain tumour and St Luke’s was wonderful for our family at the time and helped him remain at home,” said Helen, Associate Director of Marchand Petit’s Modbury office. “I’m walking to support the hospice and to raise awareness to help others. I don’t think you really understand what St Luke’s does, and that it’s not just an inpatient unit, until it touches you personally.

“It’s a charity that is close to my heart and it’s nice to get involved in something like this and raise money for such a great cause. St Luke’s is a huge resource for people in their time of need, when they don’t really know what’s available. They were invaluable for us, and very supportive for friends who have also lost their parents.”