WHEN Ken Norton was nearing the end of his life, it was his dying wish to remain in his own home with wife Pam.

A fall at home made Ken, who was fighting cancer, and his family worry if they could cope at home, however, but their fears were put at ease by nurses at MacMillan Cancer Support and staff at charity Tynedale Hospice and Home.

Ken’s widow Pam said: “We were told by a MacMillan nurse that if we wanted to keep him at home, they could make it happen, and with the support of the Tynedale Hospice nurses and care team, we knew we had the supported we needed to fulfil Ken’s wishes.

“Ken always said he wasn’t leaving his house. Tynedale Hospice at Home gave him the best possible way to go, at home, as he wanted.

“Every single contact we had was so professional and helpful for Ken, but also for the whole family.”

Pam continued: “In the awfulness of the situation, the supported carried you on.

“I didn’t realise at the support was for me too, but, with hindsight, it was.”

An event which helped the Norton family through the grieving process was attending the annual Light up a Life campaign, run by Tynedale Hospice.

The event invites people to attend a joint service and remember a loved one who has died by making a donation in their memory.

In return for the donation, the donors receive a card with their loved one’s name inside and a special memory heart to hand on their Christmas tree.

Due to popular demand, the campaign will add two further events across the district.

In addition to the usual services in Hexham, Ponteland and Prudhoe, there will be events in Haltwhistle and Allendale.

Mike Thornicroft, the charity’s chief executive, said: “Extending Light up a Life to five services has been a really important step for us.

“We cover 800 square miles and want to engage with and support everyone in that community.

“Light up a Life gives everyone who has been bereaved a chance to come together and remember their loved ones and we are pleased to be able to broaden our reach and invite even more people to join with us.”

The services will be held in Prudhoe Methodist Church, Allendale Methodist Church and Haltwhistle Methodist Church at 3pm on Saturday, December 7, and in Hexham St Mary’s Church and Ponteland’s St Mary’s Church at 3pm on Sunday, December 8.

One family which will be attending a service this year will be the Norton family following the success of their visit in 2018.

Pam said: “The timing is perfect. Just before the Christmas chaos begins, you have this little moment in time to reflect and be guided through a memory.

“The emotions were still raw but it was important for us. You could feel the emotions of everyone around you and there was a feeling of unity in grief.”

As a further thank you to Tynedale Hospice, Ken’s 12-year-old grandson Fenwick raised around £1,000 through ‘Grandpa’s Glorious Gallop’, which saw elite supercars drive through and stop off at points throughout the Tyne Valley.