“When I was about 7 or 8 years old I heard Santa coming into my room on Christmas Eve. He had a sack of presents in his hand and so I hid under the covers, very still. He banged his toe and swore loudly!”
Marjorie Eggleston, 72 from East Brent, has been attending Day Hospice since 2010 after suffering a brain haemorrhage.
“I started coming to Day Hospice to reclaim my co-ordination. I was still functioning of course but I struggled with certain tasks. My Hospice Community Nurse Specialist, Bev Cruse, had been pleading with me to come along since my initial referral to the Hospice in 2008. I used to say to him: ‘No, Bev. Let somebody else have my place – someone who is more poorly!’
“It’s strange to think of a time when I wasn’t part of Day Hospice, because I love coming here so much. I have a lot of Christmas memories at the Hospice. I remember fighting with Tommy – another patient – over the roasties! Tommy used to complain that we weren’t eating ‘proper cabbage’ because it wasn’t dark green. I used to tease him and say that they’d spray it for him! Everybody misses Tommy a lot.”
Marjorie has got an infectious cheeky spirit and confesses that she loves to tease and joke with her friends. “I expect I inherited it from my dad – he was a tormenter,” she says fondly.
Marjorie recalls a particularly funny memory of Peter, the Hospice chef, dressing up as Father Christmas. “He came into Day Hospice and said, ‘Now then, who’s going to sit on my knee?’ My friend who was sat to the right of me said, ‘You wouldn’t dare, Marge!’ Big mistake, Peter! I shot over to him before he could stop me!”
“The Hospice means so much to me. The peace that Day Hospice gives us is amazing. I didn’t think it would be possible but I feel more strongly about it at Christmas due to the care that we receive. We have carols and pantomime, the decorations are put up and we have a Christmas dinner. You can’t replace these girls [the Day Hospice nurses] – they mean so much to us all!”
When asked how she’ll be spending Christmas this year, Marjorie’s face lights up. “I’ve been married for 53 years and my three girls are all grown now but I still like to buy them silly presents for Christmas. Last year they had bubbles and ping pong balls – whilst I received a tank! It makes loud noises and shoots things. It’s brilliant! Christmas is all about children, and even when the children have grown, you need to keep hold of that spirit.”
Marjorie shared her memories as part of Weston Hospicecare’s Make a Memory campaign.
Throughout December, patients, families, staff and volunteers have shared their Christmas memories to raise awareness for those who will be spending Christmas with their loved ones at the Hospice this year.
You can get involved by sharing your memories on our Facebook and Twitter pages using #makeamemory, or make a donation online at www.westonhospicecare.org.uk to help raise money for patient care and give local families memories to cherish this year.