Nick’s plea to make every moment count

During his stay at St Columba's Hospice, Nick Hayes was treated to a surprise performance in the ward from his choir, The Gilmerton Singers.
During his stay at St Columba's Hospice, Nick Hayes was treated to a surprise performance in the ward from his choir, The Gilmerton Singers.
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A cancer patient has launched an emotional appeal for Capital residents to back a campaign which is aimed at funding vital hospice care in the city.

Nick Hayes has returned home to spend time with family and friends after being discharged from St Columba’s Hospice and has urged those across the capital and beyond to “make every moment count” with their loved ones this summer.

The rallying call comes as the hospice launches its Summer to Remember charity drive, aimed at helping the hospice to continue providing care for those living with terminal cancers.

Mr Hayes, 58, director of singing group The Gilmerton Singers, was diagnosed with lung cancer last year and revealed he felt he had “regained some control and independence” since receiving care at the Granton-based centre.

He said: “My stay at St Columba’s Hospice has been exceptional and hugely beneficial both physically and mentally. I arrived expecting to die from cancer, but have learned to live with the condition.”

Mr Hayes added: “Although still under the care of the hospice, I’m now back at home, making every moment count with the people I love the most.”

The musical group, which recorded its first album in 2006, are set to perform at a family fun day put on by the hospice in aid of the appeal. It was formed by local residents in the Gilmerton area and has more than a dozen members of all ages.

They will perform alongside the Edinburgh Brass Band on stage at the event, set to take place at Starbank Park on the afternoon of Saturday, August 19.

As part of the event, members of the public will be able to dedicate a piece of bunting in memory of a loved one to be presented as part of a specially created art installation.

The bunting, which will bear messages from family members, will be collated by hospice staff and displayed on the fun day for hundreds of attendees to see.

The fun day will also provide children’s entertainment, with face painting booths on site. A range of refreshments will also be available on the day.

Jon Heggie, director of fundraising at the hospice, said: “Our goal is to help people living with a terminal illness live well, with dignity and independence, for as long as they can.

“The fact that Nick has been able to return home and spend quality time with his loved ones is testament to the difference palliative and end of life care can make to families.”

Mr Heggie continued: “We hope people across Edinburgh and the Lothians will support our Summer to Remember campaign by dedicating a piece of bunting to a loved one and coming along to our event in August.

“The more donations and dedications we receive, the more people we can support.”