Ashgate Hospicecare ambassador "proud" to be part of charity's "inclusive" family ahead of Chesterfield Pride 2021

An ambassador for Ashgate Hospicecare has shared how “proud” he is to be part of the charity following the support he received after his husband’s death, ahead of Chesterfield Pride this year.

By Lizzie Day
Tuesday, 17th August 2021, 6:25 pm

Colin Boynton, from Buxton, has praised the hospice for their “inclusive family” after Ashgate provided him with bereavement support after his husband of 30 years, Frank Matheson died from cancer in 2017.

It comes as the charity prepares to support the LGBTQ+ community at Chesterfield Pride this weekend and Colin applauded Ashgate for how open they were with him unlike other healthcare providers where he’d previously faced discrimination.

The event, which was cancelled last year due to the Covid-19 crisis, will feature two stages and be held at Stand Road from 1pm on Sunday, August 22.

Frank on a trip to London for his 85th birthday.

The married couple were “soul mates” and Frank’s sudden death hit Colin hard, after doctors had given him a life expectancy of up to five years just weeks before he passed away.

Colin had also recently lost two close friends and his brother, David, who was 53-years-old.

But following Frank’s death, Colin said he was “unexpectedly” offered support by Ashgate and went on to attend a bereavement group as well as drama therapy sessions.

The “incredible” counselling and therapy he received helped Colin through the trauma; eventually inspiring him to join Ashgate as a hospice ambassador and raise awareness of the “inclusive and open” care and support the charity can offer the LGBTQ+ community.

The couple on their 30th anniversary – with friend Rosie.

“Right from the very first contact with Ashgate, we never had any problem with the fact I was in a same sex couple,” said Colin.

“I was treated with the same respect as anybody else would be treated, probably more so as everyone seemed to understand that like most same sex couples, we had no family to give us that important extra support that others have.

“After Frank's death, I went into a spiral of suffering from anxiety, depression and having suicidal thoughts.

"That’s when Ashgate’s support mattered the most; they helped me get back on my feet again following what was a very difficult time.

Colin at Chesterfield Pride in 2019 with friends from Ashgate Hospicecare.

“It was so heart-warming when staff on reception and the Inpatient Unit stopped to see if I was okay and if I needed anything – I could not have been cared for or looked after better than that – and nobody back then even knew who I was!”

Colin and Frank got married six years ago, having previously celebrated a civil ceremony in in 2006 as marriage for same sex couples wasn’t legalised in the UK until 2013.

Frank, who was 85 when he died, was known as a “charming and loving” man, who was always there for his husband and those around him.

Colin added: “I know Frank is extremely proud of me and continues to give me strength and support even though he cannot be with me in body but in spirit.”

Colin and Frank cutting the cake on their wedding day.

He plans to take part in Ashgate’s Sparkle Night Walk next month – two days after the anniversary of his husband’s death.

The hospice will attend the town’s Pride event this weekend to raise awareness about how its care, job opportunities and volunteer roles are there for everyone in North Derbyshire.

For bereavement support email Ashgate’s supportive care team at [email protected], go to www.ashgatehospicecare.org.uk or call 01246 568801.

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