6th Dec, 2016

Coventry pub gives up the booze to remember one of the locals

Coventry Editorial 10th Jan, 2016 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016

A COVENTRY pub has given up the booze and gone teetotal in memory of a regular who lost her battle with cancer.

Staff and customers at the Pilot Pub on Burnaby Road gave up alcohol for a month to raise £1,000 for local cancer patients after pub regular of 25 years Trisha Dowd-Hamilton died from cancer aged 55.

Trisha was diagnosed with liver and bowel cancer in December 2013 and immediately started chemotherapy at the Arden Centre, at University Hospital.

But when the cancer spread to her lungs, the decision was made in January 2014 to try Selective Internal Radiation Therapy – where radiation is directed at the site of the tumour –  in a bid to extend her life.

Over the next few months, Trisha spent many weeks on Ward 35 due to infections brought on by the chemotherapy – with her family’s efforts to bring her home for her last few weeks scuppered by the levels of pain she was enduring.

Being forced to remain in hospital for end of life care, Trisha’s partner of 25 years, Tony arranged for a special marriage license to enable the pair to become man and wife at 9am on Friday, June 19.

Trisha lost her battle with cancer just an hour-and-a-half later at 10.30am.

Speaking about Trisha’s tragic death, Tony said: “Trisha had always wanted to get married and we had just never got round to it. I just knew that this was something that we needed to do before she died.

“Trisha hadn’t been talking very much but she shouted every single word of her vows.

“She had waited a long time for this and you could tell she was so happy, despite the very sad circumstances.”

To pay tribute to the beloved pub regular, four employees at The Pilot Pub gave up alcohol for a month – donating half their daily tips to the cause and encouraging patrons to sponsor their efforts.

Darren Guy, licensee of the pub, said while the first ‘dry’ week was tough, the staff knew it was for a good cause.

He added: “Tony is part of the furniture and everybody loves him.

“We knew we couldn’t take his pain away but we just wanted to find a way of letting him know he had our support.

“£1,000 is such a lot of money but we weren’t surprised to raise this amount because of how popular Trisha was and how many people wanted to show their support for Tony.”

The money was given to the University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW) Charity to help enhance the care of local cancer patients and fund new equipment which the NHS cannot afford.

If you would like to fundraise for any ward or department at University Hospital, Coventry or the Hospital of St Cross in Rugby,  contact Melanie Shiel via email on uhcwcharity@uhcw.nhs.uk or by calling 02476 966055.