17th June 2015

Horse in surprise hospice visit

St Richard’s Hospice in Worcester helped create a precious moment for patient Catriona Craig and family with a surprise visit from her favourite horse.

Mrs Craig’s husband David and good friend Alice Bennett who owns Ed, had arranged with hospice staff to bring the 20-year old beautiful grey former event horse to the In-patient Unit on Wildwood Drive, Worcester.

Daughter Louise Russell-Pavier and friends were also on hand to share the special moment as Ed nuzzled his frequent rider and enjoyed taking mints from her hand.

Hospice staff had prepared for the visit and moved Mrs Craig’s bed out from her room onto the private patio area overlooking the hospice gardens.

Mrs Craig, who lives near Malvern, has secondary breast cancer and has been a patient in the hospice for the last two weeks. She has also received care and support from a St Richard’s Nurse Specialist at home.

Mrs Craig has been riding from a young age and at one time made her living from schooling horses in America. She said it was a such a treat to see Ed come to her hospice bedroom window.

“I’ve been around horses all my life and my mother really adored them, “ said Mrs Craig. They are special and good to be around. Being with horses gives you good feelings and they take you to places in your mind and physically you don’t normally go.”

Mr Craig said of St Richard’s, “We couldn’t believe the care and quality of the hospice. The kindness of the staff and everyone we have dealt with here has shown they are very special people doing a very hard job.”

St Richard’s Hospice Care Director June Patel added, “We were delighted to help make this visit happen for Catriona and the family. Moments like this are very special and we know being close to animals and nature can have a very real impact on a patient’s well being. Hospice care is all about putting the patient and their needs at the heart of what we do, and this is a great example of that ethos. We are used to welcoming rather smaller and fluffier creatures but it was great to see Ed making a patient so happy.”


St Richard’s Hospice provides free specialist palliative care for patients living with life-threatening illnesses and supports their families. Each year the hospice team supports over 2,600 patients and family members in Worcestershire with compassion, kindness, dignity and respect.

Patients are cared for in Day Hospice, the 17-bed In-patient Unit or in their own homes by a specialist professional team as well as many trained volunteers.

In the In-patient Unit, specialist staff are on hand 24 hours a day to manage patients’ symptoms and where, if appropriate, patients may spend the last few days of life in comfort and dignity. St Richard’s is an independent charity and is grateful for all donations to help it to continue its work.