When Beryl’s husband, Maurice, was diagnosed with terminal cancer, she desperately needed somewhere to turn for support and advice.
A landscape gardener, Maurice had been battling lung cancer for years. Chemotherapy was followed by an operation to remove a third of his lung.
Despite this, Beryl remembers someone who wouldn’t let anything get him down.
“He had his own business. Within 6 weeks of being discharged from hospital he was back at work… …He was as strong as an Ox and wouldn’t sit still for long, or for no-one, let alone cancer!”
But the news the disease was entering its final phase came as a devastating blow.
The final straw came when HM Revenue and Customs, having already fined Maurice for non-completion of his tax returns, issued a tax demand which the family were simply unable to pay.
It had the knock-on effect of delaying their eldest son’s application for a student loan, putting at risk his chances of starting his already-deferred university course.
That’s when our caseworker stepped in.
Within a few weeks she had started to sort out Maurice’s financial affairs, while a grant allowed their eldest son to start life at university while their student loan was sorted out.
And this help arrived just in time. Maurice’s health deteriorated rapidly as the cancer spread. Beryl was forced to take time off work to look after him – and to make matters worse, their car broke down.
Perennial paid for the repairs needed to keep it on the road so they could go to their hospital appointments.
Tragically, Maurice lost his battle.
We helped Beryl inform the necessary authorities and start the applications for the relevant bereavement benefits. We also persuaded HMRC not to pursue the bill for the unpaid tax and late receipt of Maurice’s tax returns, while the accountant removed their charges too.
With insurance payments taking care of funeral expenses, and now receiving her widow’s pension, Beryl’s financial future looks a lot brighter.
And Perennial is still there to support them too.
Our caseworker says, “We’ve awarded our regular child payment to the eldest son at university, and her youngest son who is still at school. They’re able to continue their studies and take advantage of extracurricular activities without stretching the family budget.”
Beryl still mourns the loss of her beloved husband. “Devastated we all were, and are still reeling from losing him.
“He was a larger-than-life character.”
The story, however, didn’t end there, because his best friend John refused to let Maurice’s memory die.
John and Maurice (or ‘Oggy’, as John knew him) grew up together and became best mates from an early age.
Beryl says, “You couldn’t not laugh with them. They had some stories to tell and had some hilarious times, as the pair of them were incorrigible!
“My ‘Oggy’ owned an MG when he was in his late teens. It was his pride and joy and he always said he’d like to own one again.”
It turned out though that John had an eye for an MG too…
“The summer he was diagnosed with cancer, John turned up with an MG with the roof down! Maurice was speechless for a minute. A bit of banter went on as his best mate had gone and got an MG before him later in life!
“They went out for a spin. I’ll never forget the look on his face when they came back. He was on such a high and said he would love to have another MG.
“Sadly it wasn’t to be.”
But John and his wife Pauline wanted Maurice to be remembered in a way he would have wanted.
And so they arrived on Beryl’s doorstep with the most extraordinary donation – the MG itself!
“They just handed over all the documents and said this is for you to donate to any charity you want in memory of ‘Oggy’. How wonderful was that?”
Beryl selected Perennial and the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation Charity as the nominated charities to benefit from the auction of the MG, which raised over £2,000 for each charity.
Beryl adds, “I hope she brings joy for the new owner.”