The donation was presented at the hospice by Sally’s husband, Tim Pollard, Nottingham’s official Robin Hood, and Sally’s father, Stephen Plummer.
Treetops provides nursing care and emotional support for adults with life limiting conditions living in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire including Hospice at Home nurses who provide end of life care in people’s own homes during the day and overnight.
I can’t overstate the difference the Hospice at Home nurses made
Sally, who was a doctor of genetics at the University of Nottingham, received Hospice at Home care which was ‘utterly invaluable’ as Tim, 54yrs from Beeston, explained:
“Sal was awesome – full of joy, full of love, very pragmatic but loved utterly. She was clever and straight talking and wedded to her work at the University of Nottingham. At the same time, she loved her hobbies and medieval re-enactment. I used to say that Sally had a career – I had a dressing up box!
“I can’t overstate the difference the Hospice at Home nurses made. I was caring for Sal at night and doing my best, as I’m sure everybody does, and we had family support, but it was burning me out.
“I wanted to show Sal how much I loved her by doing it all but it got to the point where I just couldn’t. When Treetops came in, it allowed me to have just a few hours’ sleep and know that she was in good hands. That if she was in pain, there was somebody there to help her.
“It also allowed me to look after our daughter Scarlett a bit more. She was three at the time and it was all a bit confusing for her.
“When we had Scarlett, it was the best thing in her – and our – lives. It was a terribly cruel thing that she only had a couple of years with Scarlett but she was delighted to have a daughter and I’m hopeful I’ll bring her up in the way that we would have together. I think she’d be immensely proud of Scarlett, who even now says she’s wants to be a scientist when she grows up so she can be like her mummy.”
We really cannot thank Treetops enough for what they did
The hospice nurses provided support for Tim as well:
“Losing somebody so close to you is terrible but if you have somebody there with you, it helps.
“We were always very open about everything with Sal, but there would also be conversations when the nurses would explain that towards the end you’re probably going to see the following things happen. It’s devastating when you hear it but it’s nice to be prepared and again, not something I could have done on my own.
“I was looking at my wife, and Steve was looking at his daughter, going through something that we wouldn’t wish on her and would swap places with her instantly if we could. Having someone there who had been through this, had the knowledge and the calmness to sometimes literally hold our hands and say it’s going to be okay – it helped all of us immensely and we really cannot thank Treetops enough for what they did.”
Treetops was there in our time of need
£500 of the donation was raised by Sally and Tim’s family, friends and even complete strangers:
“When Sal died, we agreed to have no flowers at the funeral and ask people to contribute to a number of charities that helped us. I thought that if we can raise £50 that would be great but because I’m Robin Hood and Sal was my Maid Marian – and there was a lot of press interest in us – we were getting donations from people we’d never even met before. It ended up being thousands of pounds that we could share with all the organisations that helped us.
“We’re in the lovely position where we can give something back. As Robin Hood, I get to do lots of fun things but to be true to the character and the point of Robin Hood, is doing good for people who need it and it’s a lovely legacy.
“Before Sal became ill, I wouldn’t have known anything about night support or even Treetops and it’s a shame because if people know about this stuff beforehand, it gives them that extra knowledge which helps.
“Treetops was there in our time of need and if what we’ve raised between us can help somebody else, then that’s a good thing.”
Scarlett has recently featured in Channel 4’s ‘Old People’s Home for Four-Year-Olds’:
“Although I’m Nottingham’s Robin Hood, these days I’m better known as Scarlett’s dad!
“The show was actually a really useful thing for her as when asked to do a card for her mummy and daddy, Scarlett turned round and said, ‘well my mummy’s died’.
“That that was lovely because it was open and honest. When we talk with Scarlett about Sal we use the term ‘died’ rather than ‘gone away’ and I think Sal would be happy with that”.
We’re hugely grateful
The other £500 of the donation has come from the Masons of Royal Sussex Lodge 402 in the Province of Nottinghamshire where Stephen is an active member:
“I’ve been involved for many years. Each year, the committee meet to discuss and dispense funding and when Sally died, I put it to the Lodge to support Treetops and they did.
“Masonry is often misunderstood but does an immense amount of charitable work. My own small Lodge, with only 33 members, dispenses £4500-£5000 each year to support local worthy causes. The Province of Nottinghamshire has also raised almost £3m over the last six years to support various causes.”
“When Sally was ill, Tim bore the brunt of it and we saw him go rapidly downhill – you can’t be awake for 24 hours, 7 days a week. We tried to help as much as we could, particularly looking after Scarlett, but Treetops and the other help we received was excellent and we’re hugely grateful.”
Treetops services include Support and Information, a Day Care Unit, Hospice at Home nurses and Therapeutic Services including counselling, art therapy and complementary therapy.