Heysham gran Josie’s walk for her mum

The last photo taken of Josie Reeves with her mum Joyce.
The last photo taken of Josie Reeves with her mum Joyce.

A Heysham grandmother will be joining hundreds of other women on a moonlight walk in memory of her mum.

This will be the ninth year that Josie Reeves, 62, has joined the St John’s Hospice Moonlight Walk.

Her mum Joyce Holmes was among the first patients to be treated at the hospice when it opened in 1986.

Mrs Holmes, who had lived in Christie Avenue in Morecambe with her husband Andy, died on November 22 at the age of 56.

The former Royal Lancaster Infirmary nurse had been diagnosed with lung cancer just six months earlier.

“Mum didn’t go into the hospice until the day she died,” Mrs Reeves said. “I was frightened. I didn’t want her to go in there. But it’s nothing to fear. They make the transition from life to death so much easier.

“Mum was put in a ward at first but was later moved into a room of her own. At about 10pm they offered us a rest room if any of us wanted to have a lie down. We were all with mum at the end – me, my three brothers and my dad.

“At about 11.55pm there was a knock on the door. It was the minister from our church, Torrisholme Methodist Church, and he said he had had a strong feeling he should come down.

“Mum died about five minutes later, it was really strange.

“The people at the hospice were so wonderful and caring.

“I remember after she died we went to the chapel of rest to see her and I was very upset, and one of the nurses said to me that when they had laid her out she looked just like an angel; it was such a lovely thing to say.

“They also deal with everything for you afterwards, they are just lovely.”

Mrs Reeves, who has three daughters and three grandchildren, will be taking part in the Moonlight Walk in aid of the hospice on June 11 – her ninth of the 10 walks held.

She said: “I have only missed one walk, and that was for a friend’s wedding.

“I usually walk with two friends. One year I had my gall bladder out in the April and still did the walk – I was just a bit slower that year!

“It’s amazing. It’s a really wonderful atmosphere. Everyone is chatting to each other as they go.”

Mrs Reeves, who lives in Tranmere Crescent, said the hospice is a vital part of our community.

“When you first walk in, you think it is going to be awful, but all the staff are so friendly” she said.

“I have visited friends in the hospice a couple of times since mum died, and it’s such a tranquil place, it puts everyone at ease.

“Just about every family knows of somebody who has used the hospice.”