AS we approach Christmas I think back to last year when so many of us had to spend this special time away from the people we love the most. It makes me thankful for the time we will spend together this year.

For some people, however, this Christmas might be the most special one of all. Due to terminal illness, it may be the last one they have to spend with their loved ones.

The job of Sue Ryder Nurses like me is to put patients in control, help them make the right decisions and take away some of the pain and practicalities they’re dealing with – giving them more time to focus on the things that matter.

More time to spend with loved ones. To reminisce and retell old stories. To hold hands, hug close and say a proper goodbye.

Heartbreakingly, many families in this position are not receiving the care and support they need, as figures show every 4.5 minutes someone in the UK dies without specialist end-of-life care. This is why I am writing to ask your readers for their help.

This Christmas and during the year ahead, my Sue Ryder colleagues and I will be going above and beyond to make sure families in our care make the most of the precious time they have left together. But our care relies on the generosity of local people, communities and organisations raising vital funds for us.

Some recent research from Sue Ryder showed that palliative care is expected to grow by 55% in the coming decade. Sadly one of the knock on effects of the coronavirus pandemic is that people are being diagnosed with serious illnesses at much later stages. This means we are preparing for many more people to need our specialist care sooner than we expected.

We really do need people’s support now more than ever. To make a donation please visit:

With your readers’ support we can be there for more families when it matters, helping them fill their precious last days with love and care.

Lisa Alvey,

Sue Ryder Nurse,

Sue Ryder Manorlands Hospice