Former chair gives support to hospice’s Thanks a Million fundraiser

April 2021


Hugh Emmans, a food microbiologist who developed motor neurone disease (MND) in his early 40s, was supported by Prospect Hospice in the last two years of his life and died in the hospice’s inpatient unit when he was 45.

His partner, Tim Willis, felt so strongly that Prospect Hospice had had such a positive impact on Hugh’s quality of life, that he joined the board of trustees and eventually was elected its chair. He has supported Prospect Hospice ever since.

“I think the Thanks a Million fundraiser is an amazing idea and I have signed up to take my own page. I’m asking friends and family to forgo giving me presents for my birthday in June, but to support my Thanks a Million page instead.

“When things were normal I used to have people round on my birthday and lay on all the catering and insist on no presents. Prospect Hospice provided a fundraising bucket that guests could put cash or cheques in if they wanted – last time I did that it raised £700, which was fantastic.

“Obviously, a million pounds is a huge ask by Prospect Hospice, and it’s not something that’s going to happen every year, but this past year has been unprecedented. In times of challenge, we look to our community to get through it, and Prospect Hospice is a much needed focus for our community.

“I know from our experience the difference it makes, having Prospect Hospice there. The best thing for us was that they knew what to expect next as Hugh’s MND progressed, so we were as prepared as we could be for every new step of the way.

“I also know that once you are being cared for by Prospect Hospice, anything’s possible, and the crucial thing is, it’s all completely free. You don’t pay a single penny. Hugh went to day therapy there, and I remember picking him up one day, and he commented on how good the food was. MND makes your metabolism work a lot faster, so those people who have it tend to have an increased appetite, so Hugh’s interest in food had increased too.

“I asked him what he had had for lunch, and he told me about the three different choices, and how hard it was to choose, they looked so good. ‘So which did you go for?’ I asked.

“ ‘I had them all,’ he said, quick as a flash. I said ‘You can’t do that! They’re a charity!’ and we put a £20 note into the collection box on the way out. But it’s typical of how the hospice supports the person and what they want or need, rather than treating the illness. And that’s what you need in end-of-life care.

“I’m asking my friends and family to help me hit a target of £1,000 over the Thanks a Million weekend. I know that’s ambitious, but it’s been a testing year for the whole community. I’m sure we’ll all rise to the challenge and help Prospect Hospice fill the fundraising gap that has resulted from the pandemic, so the wonderful staff there can carry on making such a difference to people like Hugh and me.”

To find out more about our Thanks a Million fundraising challenge and how you can get involved, click here.


Back to News