Ken Collinson has been a patient in the Long Term Unit here at Alice House since May 2021, after being admitted from North Tees Hospital.
Born and bred in Hesleden, Ken moved to ‘The Rocks’ (Blackhall Rocks) when he was a teenager and spent many happy days walking and cycling with his friends in the denes of Castle Eden and Hesleden. Ken said, “They were simple times, we didn’t have one decent bike between us but we were busy and happy.”
Married to Carole, they have two children, Martin and Sarah and four grandchildren, Lewis Max, Charlotte and Sophie. Before his illness, Ken still enjoyed walking in the denes only now he would be accompanied by his friends and faithful Patterdale Terrier, Meg. He used the time on his walks to select hazel stems for his hobby of making walking canes.
Ken said, “I love the garden here at Alice House and have really enjoyed sitting and chatting with my family out there. Unfortunately, I’ve not been well enough the past few days but have still enjoyed having the patio doors open and a breeze coming into the room.
The staff here couldn’t be kinder or do enough for me. They are working hard to keep my pain under control and some days are better than others, but they don’t give up. The food from the Catering Team is lovely too, they’ll make you what you want; most mornings I enjoy my porridge and prunes although I have enjoyed the occasional full English!
I never really understood what the Hospice was about, but now I understand it’s not all about dying, even though that’s what most people think. My good friend from school, Eric who passed away recently from cancer wasn’t cared for here but I wish I could have told him what a lovely place it is.
Ken decided he wanted to do something to raise awareness and funds for Alice House, saying, “A few bob won’t go amiss so I’m growing myself a Mohican. The nurses have already helped by dying my hair green, red and blue but I’m aiming for the full on, stood up, Mohican with bright colours – I’m going big! My wife Carole and sister Angela have been helping me raise funds by selling homemade crafts; we’ve already raised £1,000!”