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He tells of how the hospice helped her and how it helps him now.

John Colson, from Ushaw Moor, is another green fingered gift to our gardens.

He’s framed by the greenhouse door when we first see him, putting the finishing touches on a tub he’d made and which will be sold with flowers in it.

John says: “Coming here, keeps me out of mischief. It keeps your thoughts positive. Otherwise, I might just be sitting at home, looking at the walls. I know I’m making a contribution when I’m coming here. When I first came, it was to give something back.”

John’s wife June died at the hospice two years ago. Tears slip down his cheeks as he remembers her. It is all still raw, he explains. They were married “three weeks short of 54 years”.

“I wanted to give something back for the way they looked after June. It couldn’t have been better. There was nothing they could do really to make her better but they made sure she was pain-free and comfortable all the time. It means a hell of a lot to know that.”

John says that on the day June died, the doors of her room at the hospice were open to the verandah and to the gardens he now works in.

“Nothing seemed too much trouble for anybody to do to try to make things a bit easier…. If you go into a hospice, you’re a name. It makes a big, big difference.”

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