When 84-year-old Derick Andrews was recently transferred from Addenbrookes’ Hospital to Arthur Rank Hospice (a charity that supports people in Cambridgeshire who are living with a life-limiting illness and those who need end of life care).
He told the ambulance crew how upset he was that he would miss his son’s wedding. His son Simon Andrews and fiancé Tanya were to be married at Cambridge’s Registry Office at Shire Hall the next day.
Upon hearing his story, the ambulance crew – Pete Amies and Ali Amps – managed their Friday shift on the day of the wedding, to come back to the Hospice between their daily duties. They put in a special request to their Line Manager and due to fortuitous circumstances, a non-emergency patient transport vehicle was available, and they were able to take Mr Andrews senior to the wedding.
On hearing Derick’s story and what the ambulance crew had promised to do, the Inpatient Unit at Arthur Rank Hospice carefully planned how the specialist care he needed could still be provided, with Specialist Palliative Doctor, Dr Jenny Huguet agreeing to accompany him. Matron at Arthur Rank Hospice’s Inpatient Unit, Carly Love told Charity Today: “We were so pleased that we were able to help Mr Andrews get to his son’s wedding. It was really special that morning, seeing him – together with Dr Jenny, Pete and Ali head off to Shire Hall, complete with button holes. When they got back, although he was tired, it was clear how thrilled he was to have been there.”
Liz McEwan, Head of Urgent and Scheduled Care at The East of England Ambulance Service Trust, said: “We have some amazing people who work for us. This is a great example of crews going above and beyond to genuinely care for the patient, treating him with dignity and respect. A lovely example of how a small gesture can go a long way.”
Back in his room at the Hospice in Shelford Bottom, Cambridge, the next week Derick explains: “We were in the ambulance and telling them that my son was getting married the next day and that we weren’t going and they said, ‘We’ll make sure you go’. Then, when we got here, the Hospice said that they’d help too.
“I thought it was marvellous that they took us in the ambulance to Shire Hall where he got married and then back here up to the Hospice. Dr Jenny came in on her day off so we could go, which was lovely. My son’s wife, Tanya, burst into tears: they weren’t expecting us to be there.”
As an evacuee of the Second World War at the age of 5, Derick was taken in by a family in Swaffham Bulbeck when he was little and never saw his birth-family again. He met his wife, Margaret – who had also been evacuated from London – when he was 22 and she was 17, on the dodgems at Bottisham Fair. The couple celebrated their own 60th Wedding Anniversary on 22 March. After being posted as a Sargeant in the army in Egypt, Derick and Margaret later managed a run of local pubs across several decades including The Sun in Waterbeach, The Hole in the Wall in Little Wibraham, The Crown at Girton and finally The Exhibition in Over.
Derick adds: “I would like to say thank you to this place, and the ambulance crew and everyone who made it possible for me to get to my son’s wedding… and to my wife for the great love that we’ve had. I hope my boys have the same good life that I have had.”