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Terminally ill woman called hospice nurse 'an angel' before dying of cancer

By NDJNicole  |  Posted: May 12, 2014

Betty's grandchildren Mark and Nicola Weeks thanked the North Devon Hospice

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A HOSPICE nurse was described as an angel by a terminally ill women before she died from cancer.

Ilfracombe resident and well-known dance teacher Betty Blackmore died in December 2007 following a brief battle with cancer aged 78.

Betty was known to thousands of her pupils around North Devon as Auntie Betty.

She taught a variety of dance including tap, ballet and modern.

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Her grandchildren would like to thank the North Devon Hospice for the support during Betty’s last moments.

Betty died just eight weeks after her cancer diagnosis.

Her grandson Mark Weeks, 29, said: “It was really hard to take it on board. To hear that news, it was so difficult.

“Nan was always very fit and healthy. It got to a point where she went to bed one afternoon and stayed there for five weeks. That was where she passed away.”

Mark said Keely Dempsey, community nurse at the hospice, helped the family though the difficult time.

He said: “We are such a big family, there is a great support network between us all. It was a scary time, she had always been so fit and healthy.

“It just didn’t seen right or fair. Keely gave us emotional support, she was so calming and sympathetic as to what was going on.

“She came in almost as a family member. She was like a long lost friend. She took the time to talk to us all to make sure we were alright.”

Mark described the North Devon Hospice as an asset.

He said: “Congratulations to the hospice for reaching the big 30. It is a service that people can take for granted.

“You never know when you will need them. The hospice is an asset to North Devon, we need to look after it for the future.”

Mark’s sister, Nicola Weeks, 26, said the hospice was there during a very upsetting time.

She said: “Keely was absolutely brilliant. She was a great help, I don’t know what we would have done without her. In the end nan said Keely was like her angel.

“I just want to say thanks to the hospice. I also had bereavement counselling. I was the only person in my family to take them up on the offer. It really helped me cope.”

A CHARITY in Barnstaple which supports people with cancer and other life-limiting illnesses is celebrating its 30th anniversary.

North Devon Hospice has been helping patients and their families for three decades.

Wynne Withers was the hospice’s first nurse and was appointed in 1984.

She travelled across North Devon giving care to patients in their homes.

Now the hospice supports thousands of people every year who have been diagnosed with cancer and other life-limiting illnesses.

To mark the anniversary, each month the Journal will feature someone from the hospice who has played an important role within the charity.

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  • Lyntonian  |  May 12 2014, 5:44PM

    You don't need to go to heaven to find an angel.,they walk amongst us.

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