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Over the years, I've spent some quite a lot of time in hospices.
Recently, visiting a very close family friend.
Although they're home to such deep sadness,
they also manage to inspire hope and happy memories
and that's why I want to show you the special work that hospices do.
UK hospices support around 200,000 adults and children
with terminal and life-limiting conditions, every year.
Aidan Moir died in 2012 when he was just ten.
You shouldn't have to bury a child.
It's just not the way it should be.
They should be burying their parents.
Nothing could ever prepare you for it.
Aidan was born with a rare neurological condition.
When he was five, his senses started to deteriorate,
along with his ability to walk and talk.
It's hard to imagine how difficult it is for people to cope
when their child has such a devastating illness.
But for families like Aidan's, children's hospices all over the UK
offer support, comfort and valuable respite.
Robin House Hospice, north of Glasgow.
Aidan's mum and dad brought him here for visits
with his brother and sister as his condition got worse.
Although Robin House cares for children
with life-limiting conditions,
it also gives family, like the Moirs,
a break from the demands of such a severe illness.
Family life, it was all about clock watching.
"Is it medicine time? Is it feed time?"
Whereas when we come down here, he had his own member of staff
so it meant we could go in the pool with him, read him a story...
just lie, lie beside him in the bed and watch a DVD.
the everyday that people take for granted with their kids.
And it was here that Aidan spent his final days.
The doctor here looked him over and thought,
this could maybe be Aidan's last.
So, he was settled for the Thursday night.
During the day on the Friday, didn't really...
When the end came, he was surrounded by his whole family.
-He just went in his sleep.
-He went so peacefully, so quietly...
I think Robin House, for me, will always be a happy place,
even though Aidan passed away here.
For me, it was all about the memories that we made as a family.
-Yeah, good memories.
The good times, mm-hmm.
Robin House is one of a network of over 200 UK hospices
supported by a charity called Hospice UK.
Hospice UK works very hard to make sure they offer the best care.
Now that could mean pain relief or counselling.
But it's also so much more.
Hospice UK depends on all of us to make it happen.
Like many hospices, Robin House relies on the help of volunteers.
Whether they're in the garden, the kitchen,
or working directly with the children.
-He liked that.
-Is that one good?
-Feargus is nearly two and loves drumming.
-Today, he's with Phil...
-Here you go, Feargus.
-You do it.
..who's been volunteering at Robin House for three years.
Feargus spent his first 14 months and hospital
for a complex life-limiting condition.
He was then referred to Robin House.
But it was a hard step for the family to take.
You never want to go to a children's hospice.
It's not something you want to do.
FEARGUS BABBLES IN BACKGROUND
It took us a while to get our head round everything.
Now it's a place to enjoy precious moments together.
'And it's about living. It's not...'
It's not about end of life all the time.
It's about making the best of what you have and making memories,
because that's really all we are doing, is making memories.
Hospices across the UK are giving
support to people of all ages.
Here at London's Royal Trinity Hospice,
terminally ill adults can also choose from
a wide range of activities, thanks to volunteers giving up their time.
This is Monday club. It's for people with dementia.
They live at home but they use their local hospice for classes
which volunteers help to run.
Well, they needed a pianist.
Trinity has 450 volunteers who are given training to work
sensitively with people who are terminally ill.
They help the specialist staff make the patients' lives more enjoyable.
Now, this may surprise you, but much of the care they give
actually happens outside of the hospice building.
Hospice UK have championed the idea of training up volunteers
to support people with a terminal illness living at home.
It's a great idea and importantly, it frees up hospice nurses
so they can concentrate on clinical work.
28-year-old marketing consultant Eddie gives up several hours
a week to volunteer.
Trinity matched with Ken, who's 84 and has Parkinson's.
Ken lives with his wife, Kirstin, in south London.
Let me serve some cake.
Eddie's visits give Ken the confidence to get some exercise.
Mind if I use some fingers?
Eddie comes along once a week and we go out for a walk.
Here we go. I've got you.
And by the time we get back, I must say, I'm shattered.
You're doing great.
And it's getting more difficult.
But I'm determined to keep it going.
Because otherwise, I would be completely immobile.
You're doing great.
Trinity train volunteers like Eddie to keep an eye on patients' welfare.
After every visit, I report back.
Fortunately, I haven't had to say that there's anything
that I'm concerned about with Ken, because he's in pretty good shape,
pretty good nick.
I'm very lucky. And we hope it'll last for a long time.
Hospices rely on these volunteers and depend on the generosity
of people like you to fund much of the wonderful work they do.
But the truth is, Hospice UK would like to do a lot, lot more.
More specially trained volunteers in hospices and doing home visits
would make a big difference.
Together with the nurses, they can ensure that people don't face dying
without the support they really need.
So please donate and help Hospice UK give more adults and children
the chance to live their lives to the full.
To give by phone, call...
Calls are free from mobiles and landlines.
You can also donate £10 by texting...
Texts cost £10, plus your standard network message charge
and the whole £10 goes to Hospice UK.
For full terms and conditions, or to make a donation online,
visit the Lifeline website at...
Or if you would like to post a donation,
please make your cheque payable to "Hospice UK"
and send it to...
..writing "Hospice UK"
on the back of the envelope.