Royal Marines Band says one final goodbye to Dorothy House patient

  • 20 June, 2024
  • News

On Tuesday 18 June, Dorothy House Hospice Care played host to the Royal Marines Band Collingwood, who performed for patients, staff and volunteers, but most importantly, to two of their band members, Musician Sophie Ward and her husband, Lance Corporal Richard Ward.

At Dorothy House, we know the importance of going the extra mile and prioritising what matters most to the people we support. From hosting wedding blessings at the Hospice to tracking down long lost family members, we’ve been privileged to play a role in some extraordinary stories. On Tuesday 18 June, we were honoured to welcome His Majesty’s Royal Marines Band Collingwood to the Hospice, for a very special performance.

Royal Marines Band in the grounds of Winsley House

Newlyweds Sophie and Richard were part of the Royal Marines Band, based at HMS Collingwood. Sophie, aged 27, played flute and saxophone in the band before she was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease (MND) in January, while Richard is a solo cornet player currently serving in the Commando Training Centre, Royal Marines, Lympstone, Devon.

A special performance for Sophie

Thanks to Richard, the band made the journey to Winsley, where Sophie had been staying on our Inpatient Unit (IPU). Sophie and fellow patients on the IPU were wheeled out onto their patios to listen and watch the performance, while staff and volunteers also joined them out in the grounds. In an emotional tribute, the band played in full marching uniform for Sophie, one last time, and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. The band was lead by Captain Phil Trudgeon, Director of Music, who said:

“As Director of Music of The Band of HM Royal Marines Collingwood, I had the immense pleasure of leading the band to perform for Sophie and her family at Dorothy House. The day was full of a range of emotions as we performed a Beating Retreat with music selected by Sophie. I felt overwhelming pride as the band played so spectacularly and hope we brought moments of positivity and joy to all friends, family, and staff. Sophie will always be a part of our unique Royal Marines Band Service family.”

After the spectacular performance, Sophie was presented with her Coronation Medal by senior members of the Royal Marines.

Sophie Ward Coronation Medal

 “We’re eternally grateful to Dorothy House for putting on this event for us. It’s been wonderful to arrange for the Royal Marines Band Service to come and visit us with a performance especially for Sophie. Dorothy House is set in such a beautiful location; it was the perfect setting for the band to come and play for her.

It was a wonderful day, and the weather was incredible. The staff are absolutely exceptional there – they also looked after the family in the best way they could as well as Sophie, and we’re eternally grateful for that. It’s such a happy, relaxed, and wonderful place to stay. Thank you so much.” – Lance Corporal Richard Ward, Sophie’s husband

By sea, by land, through kindness

As the afternoon concluded, our CEO Wayne De Leeuw, thanked the couple for inviting us to be part of such a special day, talking about the importance of doing what matters most to the families we support.

 “Dorothy House exists to do what matters most for people and today exemplifies that. Thank you to Sophie and Richard for giving us the opportunity to share in something so personal, something so very public and something extraordinary. Thank you also to the Marines Band for allowing us together as a community to deliver what matters most today to Sophie and Richard.

The Latin motto for the Royal Marines is ‘Per Mare, Per Terram’. For one afternoon, I want to add one extra bit: by sea, by land, and through kindness. You brought happiness, but you also made us shed a tear and realise the value life and the things that really matter to people.” – Wayne De Leeuw, Chief Executive

Dorothy House is fully committed to the ‘What Matters to You’ Charter, and our staff are passionate about providing personalised care to patients at home, across our 700sq mile patch, or here in Winsley on our Inpatient Unit.

Sophie being presented with her Coronation Medal

How Dorothy House supports patients with MND

Alongside her stay on the IPU, Sophie has also been supported by the MND Service, which Dorothy House run jointly with Royal United Hospitals (RUH), Bath. The service offers a single point of contact and ongoing support for patients with MND, their families and carers. In addition, the service provides specialist information, signposting, support and guidance from diagnosis onwards. An MND specialist practitioner works within the RUH, Dorothy House, and out in the community, where they can visit patients in their homes.