The WWL Way
Telephone: 01942 244 000

Worldwide Public Response to Patient’s Visit from Her Horse

Newsdate: 10 November 2014 

Pictured: Mrs Sheila Marsh and her horse BronwenWrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust is truly amazed at the scale of the emotional response from the public to the photograph and story of Mrs Sheila Marsh. Staff at the Trust granted Mrs Marsh’s last wish to see her favourite horse named Bronwen, who she had raised from a foal, one last time.

The photograph and story has gone viral on social media and has also picked been up by newspapers, radio and TV stations across the world as far as Australia and America.

Gail Taylor, the Bereavement Liaison Specialist Nurse who raised the request from the family said, “End of Life care with our patients is paramount and fundamental to what we do. We put our patients and family at the centre of everything we do, especially in their last days/hours of life.  We listened to and acted on Sheila’s last wish to say goodbye to her horse that she’d had for the last 25 years from a foal. 

We communicated with her daughter Tina to bring her horse along into the car park at the Royal Albert Edward Infirmary. The nursing staff wheeled Sheila down the corridor in her bed to the entrance. The horse, Bronwen, walked steadily towards Sheila. Sheila gently called to Bronwen and the horse bent down tenderly and kissed her on the cheek as they said their last goodbyes.

We have captured many pictures of this special moment to be collated into a commemorative photo album which we will present to Tina and family. Capturing keepsake mementos can help with the grief journey which we all experience after the death of a loved one. We would also like to reiterate our sincere condolences yet again to the family.”

Pauline Law, Deputy Director of Nursing, who authorised the horse visit to the hospital added, “I am really pleased to have been able to support the visit from Mrs Marsh’s horse. This was obviously extremely important to her and her family and we feel privileged to have been able to provide this support at this crucial stage of her care. It is absolutely right that we should pull out all the stops to ensure that our patients and their families receive personalised, compassionate and dignified care at the end of their life and this is what we will always strive to achieve. I would like to thank both the Bereavement team and the staff on Orrell Ward for making this special moment happen.

We are fortunate at Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh in that we have an excellent Palliative Care and Bereavement Team who work closely with our patients and their families throughout their care to ensure we understand exactly how we can support them.

We would like to thank everyone for their kind comments on social media and through the many emails sent to the hospital and to our staff for the compassion they showed in arranging this very moving reunion.”

Pictured: Mrs Sheila Marsh and her horse Bronwen.