One man's bid to repay the care his late wife received in city Hospice

JOHN Brady arrives at the Prince & Princess of Wales Hospice carrying two collection tins stuffed full of donations.

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John saw Jacqueline spend her last months fighting cancer at the Prince & Princess of Wales Hospice
John saw Jacqueline spend her last months fighting cancer at the Prince & Princess of Wales Hospice

They're leftovers from a race night he organised which raised more than £2000 for the Evening Times-backed Brick by Brick appeal.

It was his way of saying 'thank you' for the care his beloved wife Jacqueline received during her last days spent in a private room in the in-patient ward at the hospice.

Jacqueline passed away in June last year, aged just 44.

The couple had married only six weeks before she lost her battle with cancer.

John admits to experiencing a rollercoaster of emotions on setting foot over the threshold for the first time since her death.

"The day that she came in here, I felt as if I'd let her down," said John, 49, of Penilee, on the outskirts of Glasgow's South Side. "But once I came here myself, it was totally the opposite.

"I even had one of the nursing staff phone me – as she was about to board a plane going on holiday – asking how Jacqueline was.

"For me, that sums this place up."

John had given up his job as a security guard at the G1 building in the city's George Square at the turn of last year to care full-time for Jacqueline.

The guilt that he felt when accompanying Jacqueline to the hospice was quickly replaced with relief.

"It's the dignity and respect," he said. "I don't know if everyone feels it, but when you walk in those doors, it's as if somebody puts two arms around you and gives you a big hug.

"My vision of a hospice was of a big hospital with machines. This is like walking into a house."

The money John has raised from the charity night held at the Green Baize snooker club in Hillington Road South will go towards the £15million needed to create a purpose-built hospice in Bellahouston Park, which will be four times bigger than the existing facility.

Raising money for the cause became a way for John to channel his grief.

"It was quite comforting to know that the money raised would go towards a new care centre," he said.

"Any opportunity I get now to raise money, I'll do something. It has a place in my heart."

John and Jacqueline, who both have children from previous relationships, had been together for seven years, having struck up a friendship on their bus journeys to work.

They had planned to wed this summer in the resort of Alcudia, in Majorca, where they'd spent their first holiday as a couple.

But they brought the wedding forward to April last year after Jacqueline's health began to deteriorate.

In the space of six weeks, they had arranged the service at Glasgow's Park Circus and a reception at the Glynhill Hotel, in Renfrew.

The happy wedding photos taken in Kelvingrove Park are howJohn likes to remember Jacqueline.

"She was lovely. She was generous to a fault," he said.

"I stopped giving her money for her birthday.

"I'd say go out and buy yourself something and she'd come back with something for me."

Jacqueline, who had four sons, had been visiting her doctor for around three years complaining of lower back pain.

She took increasingly stronger painkillers until her weight began to plummet and her GP sent her for tests.

A scan in the autumn of 2011 highlighted a tumour on her lung.

"They gave her a year to live," said John.

"They weren't far off, with eight months.

"She was a smoker - they said it wasn't smoking-related, which I couldn't understand, but they didn't elaborate on the cause."

Jacqueline underwent a course of chemotherapy at the Beatson, which was successful in shrinking the tumour.

But a secondary cancer in her pancreas made her condition worsen rapidly.

"She couldn't eat due to this," said John. "I think that's what really did the damage.

"Cancer is a cruel disease.

"You think things are going to be okay and then it just slaps you right in the face.

"Some days you wouldn't know she was ill, other days you thought she was going to go there and then."

Jacqueline passed away on June 11, last year. Her funeral at Craigton Crematorium took place eight days before her 45th birthday.

The flags at Thales Optronics (formerly Barr & Stroud) in Govan's Linthouse – where Jacqueline worked on the catering team – flew at half-mast until midnight on the day of her funeral.

"I couldn't believe it.

"I had to go around and see it for myself," said John.

"She was well-liked.

"They did a 'secret Santa' at Christmas and they gave her every present. They loved her to bits."

John continues to look after Jacqueline's youngest son, Lee, 12, who he said has given him a reason to look forward.

"I don't know where I'd be without him," said John - he's given me something to focus on.

"I promised her I'd look after him as best I could and that's what I intend to do.

"I know if it had been the other way about, then she would have done the same for me."

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