Family of ex-Gulls star Paul gives heartfelt thanks to hospice

Paul Holmes praises Rowcroft for care received

As the family mourn the passing of their former Gulls football star Paul Holmes, 56, who passed away at Rowcroft Hospice on 7 May, they have issued a moving message of thanks to the hospice teams for the exceptional care and support that the whole family received from the charity.

After a diagnosis of bowel cancer in June 2023, Paul received care and support at home from Rowcroft’s Community Team, before entering Rowcroft’s Inpatient Unit in Torquay in late April. Throughout his five-week stay, the hospice’s dedicated team of professionals ensured that Paul and his loved ones received specialist care and support tailored to their individual needs.

Support from Rowcroft

“I don’t know what we’d have done if Rowcroft wasn’t here,” said Paul’s wife Kate in a video that she and Paul took part in to shine a light on the important care that the hospice provides. “We’ve got five children between us: I’ve got two and Paul’s got three and we’re a very well sewn together patchwork family. The care has been tailored to all of our needs. Everybody was supported and they’ve allowed us to make new memories with Paul. They’ve got time to reassure, to alleviate fears, to explain, and they created a bond with us straight away.

“They are the most special people; they can’t do enough for you. It enabled us a family to continue to make memories, to feel safe, feel secure, feel loved, and feel cared for.”

“I can’t thank them enough for giving me these extra days, weeks, whatever I’ve got left,” said Paul.

Paul with Rowcroft nurse Lesley

A multi-skilled team

“It was a privilege to care for Paul,” said Kayleigh Hines, who was one of Rowcroft’s team who supported Paul in the Inpatient Unit. “Our highly skilled multidisciplinary team was able to provide a range of specialist support that helped Paul and his loved ones through the end of his life, recognising what is important in the context of a family structure.

“Paul was such a special person and adored by his family. I loved hearing all about his incredible life as a footballer and it is clear that he holds a special place in the hearts of the Torquay United fans. All of us at Rowcroft extend our deepest sympathies to his family and all who knew him.”

A football hero

Yorkshire-born Paul’s memorable football career included two four-year stints at Torquay United between 1988-1992 and 1999-2003 where he played as an attacking right-back. He also made 306 more appearances for Doncaster Rovers, Birmingham City, Everton in the Premiership and West Bromwich Albion.

Paul with family

Raising funds for the hospice

“Paul’s aim was to raise as much money as possible to say thank you and give back to this wonderful and much needed charity who gave him, me and our family so much love, care and support,” added Kate. “He intended to do some fundraising challenges himself but sadly time ran out… so donations in his memory will certainly be a way to help him achieve this ‘goal’! Please give what you can at:

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