Charlie bids John a fond farewell - Avenues Group
30 - 1993-2023

Charlie bids John a fond farewell

Wednesday 28th of June 2023

From the moment John met Charlie they were inseparable. When John, who was supported by Avenues in Surrey, passed away in late 2022, it was Charlie the cat that took pride of place at the front of the funeral service. It was just one of the personal touches from those who’d supported John over the years and knew him so well.

When a bereavement happens in an Avenues’ service, it’s always difficult. Often those supported become like family members. So when a funeral takes place, staff do their best to honour their wishes, as if they were family. Such is the case with John who was supported by Avenues South at Dallimore by Samuel Gyan and his team;

“John was such a happy, sociable person and so kind. We wanted to give him the befitting and dignified service he deserved,” said Samuel.

That service included John’s cat of 18 years, Charlie, who John had looked after since he was a kitten.

“Charlie was such a huge part of John’s life. He used to sleep on the bed with him” said Samuel who revealed that when the hearse arrived at the Avenues service, Charlie travelled with John to the crematorium. “We were really focused on the two of them having that last journey together,” said Samuel.

According to Samuel, the team had managed to take Charlie into the hospital in John’s final days, after seeking out an understanding, pet-loving nurse. “We took him every time we visited in those last days” he said. They were even afraid to tell Avenues managers! However Dan Gower-Smith, Avenues’ Director of Operations has nothing but praise for the team;

“Hearing how they covertly took Charlie to see John in hospital in his last few hours to give them time to have their final cuddle is just incredible and I have no words to describe this level of care and support they showed. I will be telling everyone and so should they!”

Charlie, ‘now an elderly gentleman’ according to Samuel, will remain at Dallimore, looked after by the staff.

Charlie wasn’t John’s only passion he shared with Avenues staff. Photos of John in front of steam trains were projected onto the wall. As Samuel reveals “There was nothing John didn’t know about trains and his timetable knowledge was extraordinary”.

“He was a great fan of the Lynton and Barnstaple preserved steam railway. He also had a great collection of train whistles and in his honour the sound of a steam train whistle was played at the funeral” said Samuel.

Dan Gower-Smith who attended the funeral was touched by the attention to detail at the service and the end of life care shown by the staff team;

“Supporting someone at the end of their life is a challenge and honour and seeing the care and attention our staff gave to John is more than amazing. They all went more than the “extra mile”. Talking to the team after the service it was clear they just did it because they cared so much for John and Charlie.”

“Samuel and his team are amazing and social care is a better place for having people like them. Avenues and the people we support are so lucky to have them working in our organisation” said Dan.