A TERMINALLY-ill patient at East Lancashire Hospice has spoken movingly about what the place means to her ahead of Hospice Care Week.

Starting today, the event is aimed at helping more people understand the work hospices do as well as increasing donations.

Grandmother-of-five Maureen Heap, 67, lives in Accrington with her husband Ronnie.

She was shocked to be diagnosed with lung cancer earlier this year after putting a persistent pain in her side down to a strain.

After initially being terrified of her condition, hospice staff have helped Maureen feel more calm and positive about the future.

The former stewardess at the King Street Working Men’s Club said: “We went to see the doctor and he said it was terminal.

“We were both in shock. We had no warning about anything.

“I had to make two bad phone calls, the first one was to my daughter Berni. Wow, I never want to hear those tears again.

“The second was to my twin sister Irene and she broke down.”

Maureen was put in touch with East Lancashire Hospice in Park Lee Road, Blackburn, and now attends day therapy sessions once a week.

She said: “At first I just wanted to get drunk. I am going to Blackpool instead with my family.

“Why be depressed and sit in a corner? I went to the inpatient unit for three weeks for pain management and I didn’t really want to go. I thought it would be all doom and gloom but it wasn’t.

“I have learned that the worry is in your own mind, there’s actually nothing to worry about.

“Outside the hospice I was scared and terrified. When I came in I felt safe and looked after. I am in hospice care and I am going to fight this and have a good time.”