THOUSANDS of pounds is being raised for Myton hospices after the tragic death of Ross Blair, son of ex-Coventry City footballer Andy Blair and husband to TV actress Holly Matthews.
Ross, aged 32, passed away on Saturday at the charity’s hospice in Warwick three years after being diagnosed with a brain tumour, leaving the couple’s two daughters.
Ex-Byker Grove, The Bill and Waterloo Road star Holly posted updates on social media last week in his final days and since.
She has also taken to Facebook and Twitter for a fundraising push for Myton Hospices, and expressed the family’s gratitude for the hospice’s care, love and support.
A Just Giving Page created before Ross’s passing, which can be found at
https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/iamhollymatthews – reads: “Nearly a month on, living in @mytonhospices and my amazing husband is still holding on.
Of course he’s now in a deep sleep, not eating, drinking, or conscious of his surroundings, but his strong body is fighting for him and sadly at this stage it is kind of working against him.
“He’s comfortable and looks peaceful and we have all accepted that he will go, when he goes and we have no control over that.
“.. I’ve cried a whole heap this week, but I feel better for it and today and yesterday have focused my mind on calm and being productive.
“The hospice is a very calming and protected space, I haven’t left for over a week and even then it was only for an hour.
“The support behind me is incredible and I feel every kind gesture and message.
“My beautiful daughters are doing great and I love them so much.”
The Just Giving page, where donations can still be made, reads: “In 2014 my husband Ross was diagnosed with grade 4 brain cancer, we always knew it was a tough illness and had dealt with that knowledge.
“BUT we had never really thought through what would happen when he got so sick, I could no longer take care of him. You just don’t, do you?
“Unfortunately that has now happened and I write this from the bed next to my husband, in Myton Hospice.
“The dignity and love they have and continue to give my 32 year old husband and the support for our family (especially our two young daughters) is incredible and this feels like the only way I am able to give back.
“We all hope we will never need the services of a hospice, but believe me when I tell you that if and when you do, you will be so truly grateful that they are here.
“Myton must raise over 8 million per year and they need our help to continue giving very sick people the love and respect that they deserve.”
Andy Blair was a midfielder for Coventry City in the 1980s and also played for Aston Villa.
He went on to set up the Andy Blair Sports and Schoolwear store in Barker Butts Lane in Coventry.
The Myton Hospices Chief Executive, Ruth Freeman, said: “On behalf of everyone at Myton, I would like to extend our deepest condolences to Holly and to the family and friends of Ross.
“Holly has been unbelievably brave and in giving such wonderful on-going feedback about the care given at Myton she has done more to raise the profile of the work that we do than anything we could say ourselves.
“Her continuing efforts to raise funds have been inspirational – she has touched the hearts of all us here at Myton while Ross was a patient in our In Patient Unit at Warwick.”
MYTON HOSPICES FUNDRAISING. IT SAYS…
As a charity, fundraising is vitally important to The Myton Hospices – less than 20% of
our funding comes from the NHS and this year we need to raise £8.8million of the
£11.5million we need to continue providing our services free of charge to patients
and their families.
Last year we supported more than 1,400 people and their families, in our three
hospices, via our patient & family support services, and in the community through
Myton at Home. We have three hospices in Coventry, Rugby and Warwick which
care for people aged 18 years and over in Coventry and Warwickshire living with a
terminal illness. Myton is also the only hospice in Coventry and Warwickshire with
People can fundraise for Myton in any way they want – from a bake sale to a
sponsored bike ride, nothing is off limits! Quizzes, music events or entering an event
like the Coventry Half Marathon in aid of Myton are popular ways of raising money.
We have our own calendar of events too, including Summer and Christmas Fetes at
our Warwick and Coventry hospices, a sponsored skydive and the annual Santa
Dash in Leamington Spa, to name a few!
Coming up in September is our ever popular Glow in the Moonlight event – a 5k walk
or run at St Nicholas Park, Warwick on Saturday 16th September – and the annual
Golf Day at Stoneleigh Deer Park Golf Course on Thursday 28th September. Myton is
also the official charity partner for the Kenilworth Half Marathon this year; anyone
who is already taking part, or wants to sign up, can join Team Myton. Plenty more
events can be found at www.mytonhospice.org/our-events or you can download a
fundraising pack full of ideas for your own event www.mytonhospice.org/35thpack
We are always in need of volunteers either on a regular basis at one of our hospices
or in our shops, or you can help as an ad hoc volunteer to support our events. We
have more than 1,000 volunteers in a wide variety of roles. Visit
www.mytonhospice.org/join-us/volunteering for more information.