7th December 2020

Worcestershire couple find light and love thanks to St Richard’s

St Richard’s has helped a local couple find love after loss.

Mike Leech and Pauline McCabe-Leech, from Malvern, sought support from St Richard’s Hospice, in Worcester, after their partners died in 2014 and 2015 respectively.  After meeting at a hospice coffee morning and finding friendship, the couple unexpectedly went on to find love and married in October 2019.

The couple’s story recently came to light when they donated to the hospice’s Lights of Love campaign, which encourages local people to celebrate and remember their loved ones by dedicating a light on a Christmas tree at St Andrew’s Spire in Worcester.

Hospice Fundraising Administrator, Emma Price, took the call from Mr Leech and Mrs McCabe-Leech and was touched to hear how St Richard’s had helped them and their former partners, who were both cared for by the hospice.

“Our Lights of Love campaign is very much a celebration of both those things so Mike and Pauline’s story struck a particular chord for me,” said Mrs Price.

“After their respective partners died they turned to St Richard’s to help find the light again but the added bonus was to find love too.  It’s such a wonderful and hopeful story in what hasn’t felt like the most hopeful of years.”

Mrs McCabe-Leech, 74, said: “St Richard’s was a huge source of support and comfort both during our partners’ illnesses and during the grieving process. The chance to meet others who have experienced similar losses is invaluable and, in our case, led to a firm friendship and then something really special.”

Speaking about their romance, Mr Leech, 69, said, “After meeting at the hospice, you could say it played a part every step of the way; as we even had our first date at the St Richard’s Snowdrops coffee shop on St Swithin’s Street in Worcester!”

“And we must have built a firm foundation as we’re still enjoying every day together, despite having spent much of our first year of married life in lockdown!”

St Richard’s cares for people with a serious progressive illness who have complex needs which cannot be met by other services. These include cancer and neurological, respiratory, cardiac and renal conditions. The charity has run its Christmas lights campaign for almost two decades.  Unable to hold its usual events in the community to celebrate Lights of Love, St Richard’s has invited supporters to watch a recorded service on its website this year, led by the hospice chaplain and featuring readings from other members of the hospice team.

Lights of Love can be dedicated until 5pm on Wednesday 16 December at: https://www.strichards.org.uk/lights-of-love/