Posted: Thu 20th Jun 2024

Ambulance service and health board hospice help terminally ill man fulfil wish of seeing Peter Kay live for people living in or visiting the Wrexham area

A patient’s wish of seeing a top comedian live with his family came true thanks to Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board’s Hospice at Home and the Welsh Ambulance Service.

When Paul Taylor, 51, was receiving palliative care treatment at home after his brain tumour became terminal, he didn’t think it would be possible to go watch Peter Kay Live, a show he was desperate to see.

However, after Paul and his wife Emma Taylor told their Hospice at Home team who were caring for Paul about the tickets they had previously purchased, Health Care Support Worker Emma Williams and Team Leader Karen Parry, from Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, contacted the Welsh Ambulance Service’s ‘Wish’ team to see if they could help.

The Welsh Ambulance ‘Wish’ Service is an award-winning service made up of volunteers, who enable patients at the end of life to experience a meaningful last journey.

“We didn’t think there would be any possibility to go to the show as Paul was bed bound at home, but he kept saying he was going because he was so determined,” said Emma, from Holywell.

“When we mentioned it to the Hospice at Home team, they were really positive and said let’s try make it happen.

“We had just over a week before the show and two ambulance crew members Cara Lyons and Leah Reading volunteered to get us there and back.

“Without them we would never have been able to go.

“They did a recce of AO Arena in Manchester to make sure it was safe, and the Hospice at Home Team came the morning of the event to help Paul get ready to go into the ambulance.

“We were so lucky Josh, the Event Manager at the AO Arena was unbelievably supportive and had thought of everything to make us feel safe and comfortable. On the night we arrived early before any crowds and they surprised us with a private suite with flowers, merchandise and even a waitress.

“They had told Peter Kay about us coming and he gifted us our drinks for the evening. Paul stayed in a bed, but he had an amazing view.”

Paul was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2015 called Oligodendroglimoa and sadly died on 6 April 2024, eight weeks after the show.

Emma continued: “It was really special for us. We had been at home for six months without doing anything social, so it was fantastic getting out with all our family.

“It’s such a precious memory.

“Without the Wish Ambulance Service and the Hospice at Home team we would never have been able to go.

“Everyone worked together, and we pulled it off. I really hope it raises awareness so that others may have an opportunity to spend valuable time with their loved ones, creating memories to treasure forever.”

Health Care Support Worker Emma Williams said: “I was so happy that Paul got his wish and was able to spend an evening out with his family.

“It was an absolute pleasure to be involved in organising this to make it happen, and I was happy to be able to share the excitement of it by going to help get him ready beforehand.

“I could see how happy this made both Paul and his wife Emma.

“The Wish Ambulance Service do an amazing job for palliative patients who are no longer able to get out and I’m sure Emma will never forget this special memory.”

Leah Reading, Ambulance Care Assistant at the Welsh Ambulance Service, said: “I signed up for the Wish Ambulance Service as soon as I learnt about it and this journey with Paul and his family was my first – and what a first it was.

“From walking through their front door, I could tell it was going to be a brilliant one.

“They all showed such strength and resilience with a brilliant sense of humour, mainly Paul, even with what they were facing.

“Once we got into the arena, what the arena and Peter Kay had provided for the family to make it extra special was beyond incredible.

“We were not left out either as Paul and his family included us in everything.

“They really made us feel like part of the family and I’m very grateful to have been a part of this memorable evening for them all, as I know how much it meant to Paul.

“I will treasure this forever.”

Paramedic Cara Lyons added: “I’ve been a volunteer with the Wish Ambulance Service since it was first introduced to WAST in 2019.

“I’ve been fortunate to participate in three separate wishes, all unique in their own way.

“Considering what Paul and his family were facing, they were in such great spirits and made us laugh the whole trip, especially when Paul demanded we stop on our way back for pizza, which we happily did.

“I was sad to hear of Paul’s passing, but extremely grateful that I was able to be a part of their experience and hope it is something they treasure as much as I do.

“It has been a privilege to be a part of the Wish Ambulance Service.

“Supporting families with making long lasting memories during the final stages of life is something that I am incredibly proud of doing and highly recommend all WAST staff sign up and volunteer when they can.”

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