Gail Filsell spent her final days at St Wilfrid’s Hospice in 2018. She was diagnosed with cancer in the bladder earlier in the year and after the team at the local hospital did all they could, she was admitted to our Inpatient Unit.

Gail’s son Joe has kindly shared their family’s story.

‘Mum was the centre of the family. She worked in the village pub and everyone knew and loved her; when she died we had the largest room at Eastbourne’s crematorium and people still had to stand.

‘When Mum was admitted to the hospice, she had an amazing room that looked out onto its Orchard Garden. The gardens are beautiful and it was great for our two black Labradors, Ivy and Gali.

‘Gali, the younger of the two, was actually named after Mum, and Ivy was a Christmas present from Mum to Dad. She loved the dogs and they visited her most days. I hope they helped others staying on the Inpatient Unit too.

Everything reminds me of her. There are moments, when I’ve been running and surpassed a personal best for example, and all I want to do is tell her. I know it would make her so proud; she’d be very proud of us all.

‘Although we don’t do anything in particular to remember her by, as I said, everything reminds us of her. She was a stickler for cleanliness, so if things are a bit untidy we joke about how much she would have hated it. If she had a grave she would be turning in it, but instead we have her ashes in a beautiful urn that my dad hand crafted.

‘I am running the Eastbourne Half Marathon in support of St Wilfrid’s Hospice in 2021. I instantly chose to support the hospice because I've seen the effect that it has first hand. Every day Mum was there she was treated with dignity and respect by staff and volunteers alike. I was overawed and humbled by my experience there and I couldn't have asked for a better place for her to leave this world.

‘My mum was taken from us too early; I was only 31. My Nan died earlier in the year, but I hadn’t experienced death before that, so I struggled to deal with it. It’s very important to talk about death and dying and you should be prepared for when it happens.’


This week (26th October – 1st November) is Dying Matters #IRemember week in honour of the different days that many cultures and faiths have around this time of year to remember those who have died. We invite you to share your stories of loved ones you want to remember and what makes you think of them on our Facebook Community page or on our other social media pages. Simply tag us and use #IRemember.