Alex and Judith's Hospice Story

“The support the team at Beccles Hospital gave Mum was incredible,” said Alex Wilde whose Mum, Judy Bryer received care there, from the St Elizabeth East Coast Hospice and East Coast Community Healthcare (ECCH) partnership, prior to her death on 3 December, aged 76-years-old from pancreatic cancer.

“After being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the September, Mum was referred to the hospice, at Beccles Hospital, in November 2022, following guidance from the palliative team at James Paget University Hospital, who indicated the hospice would be able to better manage Mum’s pain and nausea, and hence improve her quality of life.

“Although it took them a few days to get her feeling comfortable, they successfully achieved this. After months of pain and nausea, this was an enormous relief, feeling in many ways like a small miracle, which gave her a quality of life she hadn’t had in months, meaning she could once again gain pleasure and enjoy visits from friends and family.

“There really wasn’t more anybody could have done to help in terms of supporting us and caring for Mum in those final weeks. From support staff to health professionals, they were all incredible, guiding us through difficult conversations and an uncertain time for Mum and our family.”

Since launching in April 2019, more than 3,900 patients and their families in Great Yarmouth and Waveney have been supported by the free specialist palliative care provided by the joint partnership of St Elizabeth East Coast Hospice and ECCH.

Typically living with conditions such as cancer, heart failure, chronic lung diseases – such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease – and neurological disorders, these patients have received free care through the partnership’s varied, specialist palliative care provision available at Beccles Hospital, in the community and through the service’s 24-hour advice line, OneCall.

“The kindness they showed to Mum, myself and each of my family was just brilliant. At all points they looked to go the extra mile,” explained Alex.

“For instance, once we realised Mum would not be well enough to go home, and given the number of daily visitors she was having, they managed to move her into a bigger room which also had its own private garden.

“A keen gardener, having her own garden was a joy to her, enabling her to sit and watch the birds and enjoy the ‘Owl and the Pussycat’ sculptures (left by the family of a previous patient) that came to mean so much to her.”

A qualified occupational therapist, Judy returned to the UK after many years of living and travelling abroad with her husband Trevor’s work. They moved to Beccles in the 1990s where Judy was able to work once more, serving at a day centre and then at the hospital in Lowestoft, before her own retirement.

Alex said: “Mum was a very creative person, who loved sewing, quilting, knitting, gardening and DIY.  She also poured her life into the lives of many in recovery from addiction becoming a mother figure to many. Mum loved her family dearly and had the most amazing way of just “being there” for those who needed her.

“In coming to terms with the prognosis, Mum had two wishes. She wanted to get home to have Christmas together as a family and to celebrate her granddaughter Jade’s wedding, (following her engagement to Jordan whilst on holiday in America).

“When it became clear Mum would not be well enough to get home and knowing time was short, the hospice team at Beccles Hospital helped us host a special Christmas and engagement party in Mum’s room where, decorated with battery powered candles and Christmas decorations, she was able to give her blessing on their engagement.

“The staff were amazing in getting her ready, even washing her with a Disney soap my daughter had brought back from their trip and putting her favourite perfume on for the occasion. Her grandson Josh was also able to have his own special visit with Mum (coming off his first nightshift having been away with Jade and Jordan) where she was treated to a full demonstration of his newly built and acquired light saber!

“The team gave incredible care provision. They really couldn’t do enough for us, enabling special moments like these with friends and family in what was a very difficult time. The care they provided was for all of us, not just for Mum.

“Throughout her stay and especially in the last days of her life, nothing was too much trouble for the team. Dad and I were able to stay overnight with Mum, and the night she died we were with her, which meant the world to us.

“As well as the support we received during Mum’s time there we have also made use of ongoing counselling support from the hospice’s emotional and wellbeing team, LivingGrief.

“I cannot praise and thank the hospice team enough for their support and I would recommend the service we received to any facing similar challenges to ours.”

For more information about the partnership’s services in Great Yarmouth and Waveney visit

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