David Talsfield-Smith letter used for hospice appeal

A hospice patient’s impassioned plea to save beds shortly before his death has become the centre of a fundraising appeal.

David Talsfield-Smith, who was always known as Terry, wrote a letter while staying at Mount Edgcumbe Hospice in St Austell back in August, in which he describes the nurses and doctors as “angels in disguise”, adding: “I’d be devastated if my bed closed.”

A substantial loss of income due to the pandemic has now forced Cornwall Hospice Care, the charity that runs Mount Edgcumbe Hospice and St Julia’s in Hayle, to launch an urgent appeal for help at www.cornwallhospicecare.co.uk/terrysappeal

Terry’s letter has been released as part of the campaign aimed at raising money to protect the 20 beds at the two hospices, which have continued to remain open 24/7 throughout the pandemic.

He wrote: “To be honest, I didn’t really know what they did here at the hospice, but when I needed it, when I was feeling frightened and disturbed, this beautiful place had a bed for me and it felt like a gift.

“In my eyes, the doctors and nurses are angels in disguise. I’d be devastated if my bed closed.

“Although they managed to open extra beds like mine last year, which have been constantly needed throughout the coronavirus crisis, these beds are now under threat. If my bed had not been here for me, I don’t know what I would have done.”

Paul Brinsley is the chief executive of Cornwall Hospice Care admitted that the charity had “faced some very tough times” in recent months, particularly when it was forced to close all its shops through lockdown and cancel fundraising activities.

He said: “Despite the challenges this presented us with, we’ve kept our hospices open and during the pandemic, we’ve cared for 172 inpatients and their families.

“We’ve now managed to open two-thirds of our shops and our virtual events have proved successful, but we need help more than ever to protect the beds that have meant so much to people like Terry.”

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