David’s story

David and Hilary started coming to Dorothy House’s drop-in coffee club in Winsley in summer 2017 after David’s melanoma diagnosis.

David, from Warminster, had recently retired from foundry work. After treatment, he said: ‘Dorothy House played a major part in my rehabilitation – work in the gym and hydrotherapy centre helped me get strong and mobile again after a period of being unable to walk independently. I and my wife were also able to benefit from complementary therapies and we took part in a Qi-Gong course. I am proud to say that I ‘graduated’ from using the Sulis Gym at Dorothy House as the physio team said my rehabilitation was going so well I was self-sufficient.’

Hilary said: ‘We’ve gained such a lot of support from coming to coffee club in Winsley every Monday morning, it has been invaluable. It’s given us a sense of belonging to the group and enabled us to share the ups and downs of David’s treatment over the last few years. It has also given us reassurance to meet with the nursing staff at the hospice as well as the social side of making new friends at the group.’

Dorothy House physiotherapist Chris Smith said: ‘When I first met David in 2017 he was unable to walk independently but with treatment in our Sulis Gym including supervised use of the treadmill, static bike and rowing machine over six months he was successfully enabled to walk. He is now able to live an active life and has been able to return to hobbies such as gardening, interior decorating and collecting vinyl records.’

Debbie Wait, a Dorothy House multi-disciplinary team assistant physiotherapist, said: ‘David had also struggled with a fear of water during our treatments at a hydro-therapy centre in Frome. I noticed a real difference in David after he’d had physiotherapy and other treatments at the hospice for a few months. He became less fearful and nervous of water and became more confident and comfortable with our physio team. I think David even surprised himself with how much more relaxed and less anxious he felt. Now David enjoys trips to the hydrotherapy centre whenever we have availability while he is here for coffee club.’

Dorothy House’s weekly coffee clubs are unique as they offer open access to both patients and bereaved family members. They take place on Mondays from 10am-12 noon in Winsley, Trowbridge and Peasedown St John, and also on Thursdays in Peasedown.