A local taxi driver worked on Christmas Day to drive families to their desired destination and donated his fares to St Giles Hospice.
Mark Dewar, from Tamworth, works for his local taxi firm, Acorns Taxis. In 2020, St Giles Hospice began caring for his wife at the end of her life after she was diagnosed with lung and spine cancer.
Mark said: “St Giles Hospice took brilliant care of Lynette, and there’s not enough I can do in this world to thank them for that. Christmas is a hard time for me now that Lynette, is no longer here. I’ll be working on Christmas Day to ensure my colleagues can spend time with their families and make special memories – just because I don’t have that anymore, it doesn’t mean others should have to halt their plans and work.”
After Lynette’s death in 2021, St Giles continued to be there for Mark with bereavement support. He added that St Giles helped him a lot whilst dealing with the loss of his wife and described the hospice as “lifesaving” for the way they supported him with his grief.
Mark, met his wife Lynette in 1981 at a disco at his army barracks in Maidstone. Mark was on the DJ decks at the event and Lynette asked him to play the ABBA hit “Super Trouper” — it was love at first sight and within six weeks of knowing each other they married on 6th November 1981. Mark said: “We did everything together to the exclusion of everyone else – walk mountains, hanglide, bungee jumping – we were an adventurous pair. We had a great life, she was not only my wife, she was my best mate.”
Lynette was diagnosed with cancer in 2019 after being referred to hospital. Mark continued: “Lynette went for an MRI scan after she thought she’d pulled something in her back – unfortunately it was more than this and the scan determined that she had stage four cancer – it hit us both like a tonne of bricks.
“Lockdown in 2020, although unfortunate for many, gave me the chance to spend quality time with Lynette and it gave us chance to talk and get everything sorted – she decided she wanted to die at home.”
When Lynette’s condition began to deteriorate, the family received regular visits from the St Giles Hospice at Home team once or twice a week. Mark said: “The team was unbelievable – they provided such personal and bespoke care.
“We had this favourite place in Scotland, right on the north west coast – from the kitchen window the beach was 100 yards away and dolphins were swimming in the bay. In 2020 Lynette had just finished chemotherapy and we planned this trip to Scotland – the Hospice at Home team helped us enjoy our final trip away together.
“I will always be grateful to St Giles for the time and effort that went into my Lynette’s care and the importance of those final moments we got to share with each other.”
On Christmas Day, locals can book their journey via the Acorns Taxis App or they can phone 01827 63333. As well as donating the taxi fare to St Giles Hospice, Mark will also have a collection bucket in his car so that passengers can also donate any spare change. Please note that drivers are allocated depending on location, so passengers won’t be guaranteed Mark as a driver.
For more information on the St Giles Hospice at Home Team, visit: www.stgileshospice.com/hospice-at-home
St Giles Hospice is a registered charity offering high-quality specialist care free of charge for people living with diseases which are terminal or incurable as well as providing support for their families and carers.
Patients come from across the hospice’s catchment area, which ranges from Ashby-de-la-Zouch and Atherstone in the east, to Cannock in the west – and from Burton and Uttoxeter in the north, to Sutton Coldfield and Coleshill in the south.
Care is offered at the hospice’s centres in Whittington and Sutton Coldfield and in patients’ own homes across the region.
St Giles spends over £10 million a year providing its specialist services and with little more than a third of this funded by the Government, the registered charity relies heavily on donations and income generation from the local community.