Dad spent his final days at home in the studio that he loved

When Mark Peppé, local artist and illustrator, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and told he may only have three months to live, his family knew that they wanted him to spend his final days at home. St Wilfrid’s Hospice was able to make that happen, allowing Mark what two of his children, Luke and Gemma, describe as ‘the perfect death’.

‘Dad was a painter and an illustrator and he had a lovely studio at home in Willingdon village that he spent all his time in,’ explained Gemma. ‘That is where you could find him, if he wasn’t on a walk he was painting. And his studio walls were lined with books about art because that’s what he was just completely immersed in.’

‘He was very dedicated to his art, painting wherever he was – at tennis matches, in his hospital bed – but he was also a real family man. His favourite company would be his children and his grandchildren. He was a real gentleman, very polite and generous and would always do the right thing. He was my rock.’

‘Dad’s diagnosis was a bit of a shock really,’ said Luke. ‘We knew right away that St Wilfrid’s Hospice would have involvement in dad’s care. We were very certain about what pathway we wanted; we wanted him to stay at home and to get help from the hospice.’

Gemma moved in with her parents for the last two months of her father’s life and describes the care that St Wilfrid’s provided as amazing. ‘St Wilfrid’s made regular visits in the last month, twice a day to start with and by the end it was four times a day. It meant that he could retain his dignity. Because dying and cancer is messy, there are a lot of things that – being his daughter – he didn’t want me to do. Or that my mother couldn’t do. It just meant that four times a day, really friendly faces would come in and not only care for him but also give us a time to ask questions and be reassured.’

‘St Wilfrid’s helped overnight sometimes too, which was amazing. By that point we had moved my father’s bed into his studio and I was working full time by his bedside. I was exhausted, and my mother got exhausted as well. St Wilfrid’s gave us a night sitter for a couple of nights and it just meant we could get a full night’s sleep.’

‘After he died we were all so thankful for everything St Wilfrid’s did for him and our family, we felt so lucky that he had been able to fulfil his wishes and spend his final days at home in the studio that he loved.’

‘The sum the hospice has to raise each day to continue offering care to people like our father is outstanding,’ said Luke. ‘We would urge anyone who can to support the hospice so that more people can experience the amazing care that you gave our Dad.’

Find out more about ways to support St Wilfrid’s on our Get involved page.

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