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Mike Gillender and his partner Linda Cocksworth at Shotley

Fresh air and sunshine enjoyed by Mike and Linda

Creating memories and happy occasions for those we are supporting is something that we are keen to do whenever and wherever we can.

For the person that is ill and their loved ones, these moments are precious times that they can spend together.

Hospice Senior Nurse Charlene Clarke decided she wanted to do something special for one of her patients Mike Gillender and his partner Linda Cocksworth.

Mike is bedridden most of the time, so Charlene decided to arrange a visit to Shotley, where Mike and Linda could enjoy the fresh air, sunshine and a spot of lunch.

Mike explained: “I have got all kinds of funny illnesses at the moment, but St Nicholas has come to the rescue. I am bedridden most of the time, but they visit me and perk me up, and today it is the first day that I have been out for three weeks to one of my favourite spots, Shotley Marina.”

Linda adds: “We can’t thank the Hospice charity enough. They have enabled us to be here (in Shotley), our favourite place on a beautiful day, and it’s made a vast difference to us.

“Mike has literally been housebound for three weeks; for two weeks, he’s been in bed. Occasionally I’ve been able to get him into a wheelchair.”

Mike Gillender and his partner Linda Cocksworth at Shotley
Mike Gillender and his partner Linda Cocksworth at Shotley

For Linda having our staff there to support not just Mike but herself also has made a big difference, and knowing that she has backup and someone to call on when she needs it has been a great comfort.

Over the last ten years, Mike has had a history of comorbidities, which has had a big impact on his life, the main thing being failing kidneys, and nearly five years ago, he started needing dialysis. With his other health issues, this had a dramatic impact.

I knew life would never be the same, and he needed a lot of backup, maybe not on a day to day, but for myself, I needed someone I could reach out to as and when the Hospice has been there. Mike has gradually gotten used to the fact that we have this backup.


The Hospice has been able to support Mike and Linda by coordinating services, and Linda says that arranging for a ramp to be installed has made a huge difference, “It has brought a bit of normality into what is a very difficult period. Psychologically, it has just lifted Mike immensely and me,” explains Linda.

Linda continues: “We’ve created a lovely relationship with Charlene. It gives you a sense of feeling that you are not out alone. That you can just pick up the phone because even if you are so organised, there are times when something will go out of control, and you will just think I need to check on this, or I need a bit of backup, a bit of reassurance, and there is always somebody there.

“We have had out-of-hours help. A few years ago, Mike was really ill during Covid, and we had the intervention team out at the weekend. It was wonderful. You don’t seem to get into a situation where there is a real crisis; it seems to be dealt with before that happens.

“Mike has been very happy and confident with the staff that have come out to see him. It has been seamless, really. We just feel like we are part of a group, and we can reach out whenever. It’s transformed my life as well as Mike’s.”

In this video, Mike and Linda share their story.

Creating memorable moments is as rewarding for us as it is for them

“Going into work on a Tuesday and requesting that I get Mike to the beach and this happening in three days is absolutely phenomenal, and it just goes to show what an amazing team we are and how our patients really are at the centre of everything we do and we come together to make sure we do what is right for them.

 “It is a real honour and a privilege to be here with Mike and Linda today. I feel very honoured that as part of my job, I am able to do this and help and support people and make memorable moments for them. I feel very lucky to do the job that I do.”