Grieving Wigan family donates more than £1,000 to hospice in cancer dad's memory

Neil Aspinall's family present the cheque to Wigan and Leigh Hospice
Neil Aspinall's family present the cheque to Wigan and Leigh Hospice

The devastated family of a Wigan dad who lost his battle with cancer have donated more than £1,000 to Wigan and Leigh Hospice following a fund-raiser in his name.

Neil Aspinall, father to five-year-old Jacob, died in October last year after fighting an aggressive form of brain cancer, for five years.

Related: Fund-raiser for hospice held in memory of Wigan cancer dad
The 41-year-old dad-of-one from Wrightington has been described as a loving man who lived for his little boy.

Neil’s dad and step-mum, Phil and Kathleen Aspinall as well as his mum and step-dad Sheila and Ron Harbridge have donated £1,353 to the hospice following the family fund-raiser, which took place at Heskin Village Hall.

The four worked tirelessly to organise and promote the charity event, which included a huge raffle, a bouncy castle and a children’s entertainer.

Neil’s mum Sheila said she cried at the generosity of people who donated to the event which will go to help the charity who cared for Neil at the end of his life.

“I had two angina attacks that day and couldn’t go to the event,” said Sheila. “But I collected about 40 bags of all kinds of donations and on the Friday night before it lots of lovely ladies brought lots of cupcakes and bags of sweets, wine and chocolates. I got very upset at the generosity of everyone and I think with the stress of losing my son, that’s why I had the angina attacks.”

Neil was initially diagnosed with stage four glioblastoma and had his first tumour removed at Walton Hospital in Liverpool.

After that procedure, he attended Clatterbridge Cancer Centre in the Wirral and was told he only had 12 to 14 months to live.

But against all odds Neil battled against the disease for another five years until doctors found another growth, this time in the middle of his brain.

He spent the last few weeks of his life in Wigan and Leigh Hospice in the care of palliative nurses.

Sheila, Kathleen, Ron and Phil returned to the hospice last week to hand over the money raised in Neil’s name.

“It was very emotional seeing Hilary, one of the nurses who looked after Neil,” added Sheila. “She said there’s always a robin outside in the garden next to the room he was in. When we got in the car to go to the hospice I was feeling down but I put the radio on and it was Bob Marley Three Little Birds - ‘everything is going to be alright’ - that’s what Neil had at the end of his funeral service.”

Kate Gaynor, head of income generation at Wigan and Leigh Hospice, said: “This is a fantastic sum to raise in Neil’s memory and his family and friends should be proud of such an achievement.

“We at the hospice are very grateful for this donation which will be used to support and care for other local people who are living with a life-limiting illness.”

The family fun day saw donations come from across the borough and even had an appearance from ice cream firmFrederick’s who hosted a pop-up stall for three hours.

There was a performance from bagpiper Brett Tabone, who opened the afternoon and went on to play for around an hour.

Among the raffle prizes were vouchers for meals, guest passes, afternoon teas and hair and beauty packages from Wrightington Country Club, prizes from a number of Wrightington butchers, gifts from Shaw Hill Golf Club and many more donations.