On the 18th of December 2013, Interact volunteer Richard Lovegrove attended the Rotary Club of Brighton’s Christmas Lunch. There he was presented a Community Service Recognition Award by the Lord Lieutenant of Sussex, Mr Peter Field. He was incredibly deserving of this award, and below you may read the moving story which explains why.
Richard was providing advocacy support to a 57 year old man with a learning disability, we’ll call him John, who was diagnosed in April this year with a terminal illness. During the five months between his diagnosis and his death in August, Richard provided a truly incredible level of care and support to John, caring for him through his diagnosis, treatment and end of life care. Richard spent at least 3 hours every day supporting John during this difficult time. Apart from accompanying him to every medical appointment, Richard tidied and cleaned his flat, did all his laundry and shopping, cooked daily meals for him, including taking food and clean clothes into hospital, sorted and dealt with his mail and visited him daily whilst he was in the Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath. When John was transferred to a Brighton Nursing Home for the final weeks of his life, Richard visited him twice a day.
John told Richard that his greatest fear was to die alone, in pain and without dignity. Richard ensured this fear was never realised. Thanks to Richard, John died with dignity surrounded by a small coterie of friends.
And Richard’s care did not end with John’s passing. He also registered his death, planned and organised the funeral arrangements, cleared his council property, serving notice terminating his tenancy and returning the keys to the housing office. He ensured that all relevant authorities were notified of his death and dealt with the repayment of DLA and Income Support overpayment.
Before John died, Richard persuaded him to make a Will and with his consent, engaged a solicitor on his behalf to do this. It enabled John to give what little money he had in his bank to a very dear friend of his.
Richard’s dedication to supporting a very vulnerable person through the final months of his life makes him worthy of the Community Service Award.
Richard has continued to volunteer for Interact through 2014, showing his wonderful dedication to helping others. Thank you, Richard!
Could you be a volunteer like Richard?
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