“The only way to describe the nurses at St Barnabas Hospice are angels.”

26th February 2024

Sophie Butcher from Lincoln, sadly lost her father Alan Thompson before getting married, who she describes as a proud Belfast man, positive in the face of adversity and unwaveringly devoted to fatherhood.

Alan was an avid Ulster rugby supporter who was passionate about the sport and enjoyed the friendly rivalry of the England Vs Ireland six nation matches. He was a true sportsman and loved to attend games in support of his team.

In February 2022, Alan was unfortunately diagnosed with primary stage 4 lung cancer.

Sophie says: “Dad was a devoted father to me. Despite being 29 years old when he passed, he was adamant that he wanted to protect his little girl and refused to admit the reality of how poorly he actually was.

“He was stubborn in the best way, would tell me to stop making such a fuss, that he would be out of the Hospice soon and would attend my wedding, even though I knew the reality we were facing.

As Alan’s only child, his diagnosis was devastating for Sophie and her now husband, Morgan. All whilst dealing with the difficult news alongside their family, Sophie was her dad’s main support, attending every medical appointment and helping him make plans for the future.

Unfortunately, Alan’s cancer eventually progressed to secondary brain cancer.

Sophie continues: “Dad’s diagnosis had a massive impact on me. My family members, friends, and husband Morgan, were all a great support which I am extremely lucky to have.”

Support and care for both Alan and Sophie was eventually extended by the services of St Barnabas Hospice. After some initial reservations about the nature of his condition and the care that he needed, Alan was provided with a space at the Inpatient Unit in Lincoln.

Sophie says: “Despite remaining stubborn and originally refusing hospice care, Dad absolutely loved the St Barnabas Inpatient Unit.

“Whilst no one wants their parent in a hospice, knowing he was genuinely happy there made the process so much easier for me.”

Alan was looked after by St Barnabas nurses at the Inpatient Unit, receiving vital medical care and pain relief. Alongside this, advice was provided to Sophie concerning any questions she had about her dad’s condition and what to expect next.

Sophie says: “Dad received the best care possible from all the staff at St Barnabas. The staff were respectful and accommodating of my unique family situation, and gave dad everything he asked for, including his favourite foods on demand.

“Due to dad having broken legs as a result of his cancer, he was on an inflatable mattress, and he was unable to walk. Whenever he wanted fresh air, the staff transferred him to another mattress and wheeled him outside. I often came to find him relaxing in his bed in the garden, with a newspaper in one hand and a drink in the other.

“The only way to describe the nurses at the Hospice are literal angels.”

For the final day of Alan’s remarkable life, he found peace at the St Barnabas Inpatient Unit in Lincoln, with Sophie and his family by his bedside.

Sophie continues: “When I arrived on the day that my dad passed, I noticed another bed had been made up ready for me, opposite Dad, should I need to rest myself.

“At lunch time, the kitchen staff came to me and said they were making me lunch. Despite saying I wasn’t hungry she said, ‘I’m not leaving until you give me a decision and try eat even a little bit of it’.

“After dad passed, the nurses on duty gave us time as a family around my dad. They came in and placed a candle next to him, dimmed all the lights and played relaxing music, as well as bringing a trolley of tea in silently.

“These respectful gestures really helped me feel at ease and peace. I asked them what I needed to do next, and they said to go home and relax, they will ring me in a few days, and they will talk me through everything. Again, another massive weight lifted.

“The whole process of losing my dad was heartbreaking, but the staff at St Barnabas made the worst time so much easier”.

In honour of her father Alan, Sophie and her husband Morgan have and continue to take part in many fundraising initiatives and events in support of St Barnabas Hospice. They donated money raised at Alan’s funeral, Morgan took part in a 15,000ft skydive, they are both planning to run the Lincoln 10K in April 2024 and continue to play the weekly lottery.

As Alan sadly died before Sophie and Morgan’s wedding in November 2023, they honoured the father of the bride by providing guests with St Barnabas scratch card wedding favours, and even donated the winnings back to the charity.

St Barnabas Hospice are a local, independent charity, providing free support to over 12,000 people like Alan and Sophie, each year, in Lincolnshire.

If you would like to make a donation, fundraise for the charity, or find out more about the services it provides, please visit www.StBarnabasHospice.co.uk

Fundraise for us

Support your local Hospice by taking part in one of our pre-organised challenges, or take on your own! You will receive support along every step of the way!

Learn more about Fundraising


Make friends, use your know how, make a difference. We are grateful to the hundreds of people who give their time each week.

Register your interest