St Wilfrid’s was there when we needed them

This spring, Syke’s Harley-Davidson have kindly donated a soft-tailed heritage Harley to raise funds for St Wilfrid’s Hospice. Named ‘The Wave’, this bike has been custom-designed in honour of two friends of the Sykes family who were looked after by the hospice: Wayne and Dave. Dave’s wife Julia told us about the care the whole family received after Dave’s shocking diagnosis.

‘Dave was a very clever, very funny man who maintained his sense of humour to the very end. He was always putting other people first, and the most important things to him were his family, and also his work. He worked as a civilian for Sussex Police and actually got his 20-year medal whilst he was at the hospice, something he was incredibly proud of. He was also delighted to make it to our son’s wedding in the June of 2022, a few months before he died.

‘He got his diagnosis in the March of 2022, on his 59th birthday; prostate cancer. Initially, we were quite positive – it was slow growing, we thought he would be fine. But every time he went for a scan there was something else: on his lung, on his liver. Dave looked quite well – he had always been slim, strong – but we just kept getting bad news about his condition.

‘In the August we had a visit from Linda, a St Wilfrid’s Nurse. She came to our house, just to let us know that the hospice was there if we needed it. She gave us loads of information, suggested we visit for a coffee and find out a bit more about the place. In our minds we weren’t anywhere near needing the hospice. But actually, her timing was perfect because things did deteriorate quite quickly.

‘The news kept getting worse and Dave was spending a lot of time in the hospital. I clearly remember waking up one morning and thinking “I just don’t know what to do,” and I phoned Linda. I knew things were going the wrong way and I didn’t want Dave to be in the hospital anymore. The hospice works closely with the hospital, so she could see what had been happening with him. She told me what I needed to do, and Dave was taken into the hospice.

‘Going into St Wilfrid’s, it felt like a huge weight had been lifted. Since Dave’s diagnosis in March, I had been juggling work, hospital visits and my own breast cancer diagnosis. I had barely eaten. Being in the hospice, being able to pop out from Dave’s room and eat lunch in the café, I felt like a different person. I was there all the time – and both our children too – and they just looked after all of us.

They were also a huge help whilst I was having my operation to treat the breast cancer – making sure I had eaten and was looking after myself. Thankfully I am now cancer-free and well, but I just don’t know what we would have done without St Wilfrid’s during that time.

‘Since Dave died, I visit St Wilfrid’s often. It’s nice to be there, to have a cup of tea there. The whole atmosphere is lovely. They retain everyone’s dignity, and privacy and look after everyone so well.

‘I know that being together as a family was so important to Dave, and St Wilfrid’s made that a reality for him when he died. He’d be thrilled about the Harley that Denise and John Sykes have donated. The look of it – with the white-walled tyres and the bodywork – would be what Dave would have chosen. I hope it can raise thousands for the hospice so that more families can be looked after with the same compassion we were shown.’

‘The Wave’ is being used as part of a raffle to raise funds for St Wilfrid’s hospice. Tickets cost £100 each and are available at the hospice and from Sykes Harley-Davidson at Holmes Hill. Find out more here: Win a Harley Davidson

More stories

St Wilfrid’s trainee doctor fronts rock band
Trainee Doctor Gulz Dhanoya’s ‘day’ job is caring for patients at St Wilfrid’s Hospice, but during the evening, he can be found performing on stage.
Take a Starlight Stroll and remember a loved one
People who have lost a loved one are invited to remember them at our Starlight Stroll.
Winnie parties at Rainbow Run!
A youngster who chose to have her birthday party at Rainbow Run raised £1,573 for St Wilfrid’s Hospice.
Remembering the meaning of Pride
June is Pride month – a time to celebrate the LGBTQ+, and to reflect on the struggles we continue to face as a community
St Wilfrid’s trainee doctor fronts rock band
Trainee Doctor Gulz Dhanoya’s ‘day’ job is caring for patients at St Wilfrid’s Hospice, but during the evening, he can be found performing on stage.
Take a Starlight Stroll and remember a loved one
People who have lost a loved one are invited to remember them at our Starlight Stroll.
Winnie parties at Rainbow Run!
A youngster who chose to have her birthday party at Rainbow Run raised £1,573 for St Wilfrid’s Hospice.
Remembering the meaning of Pride
June is Pride month – a time to celebrate the LGBTQ+, and to reflect on the struggles we continue to face as a community
Scroll to Top