A YOUNG woman has already signed up to take part in the Hospice of the Good Shepherd Starlight Walk in Chester for her father.

Jan Gowland and her sister Jill Simcox will be heading to the streets of Chester at midnight on Saturday, September 4, to raise funds for a charity that means so much to them.

Jan, of Hawarden, said: “At the beginning of January 2008 our Dad, George Ritson, went to the Countess of Chester Hospital for tests as for a few months he had been losing weight and also his appetite.

“He underwent numerous tests and procedures, and a few days later we were given the devastating news that he had stomach cancer, which had also spread to his liver. Nothing could be done for him.

“After a few more days in hospital, and a week or so at home, Dad ended up back in hospital in an attempt to stabilise his condition with nourishment drinks and pain relief.

“We tried to keep Dad’s spirits up as best we could but he just wanted to return home.

“After a few weeks there was nothing more the hospital could do so arrangements were made for Dad to be transferred to the Hospice of the Good Shepherd in Backford.

“We had never been to the hospice before but any apprehension we had soon disappeared as we were all made to feel very welcome. It was lovely to be able to visit Dad more often and in comfortable surroundings.

“The hospice staff were so dedicated, kind and caring and during the six days Dad was there, he enjoyed chatting and laughing with them. Furthermore, they always treated him with the utmost respect and dignity.

“Dad praised the nursing staff so much and told us that when he got home he would raise money for the hospice.

“Sadly, Dad did not come home, so each year we, his daughters, do the Starlight Walk in his memory.

“We also do it in gratitude to the nursing team at the hospice who looked after both Dad and us during the short time he was in their care.”

If you would like to join in the ladies-only Starlight Stroll, call 01244 851811 or email info@hospicegs.com. You can also follow the hospice on Facebook and Twitter.