Rene and Cammie Dewar
When Eileen Dunn walks past the hospice in Carlton Place she always looks up at the corner window where her dad could see out from the ward across the River Clyde to the suspension bridge.
She says she will never forget the beaming smile on his face when he was transferred from hospital to the hospice.
“He was wearing beautiful clean pyjamas, the sheets and bed cover were lovely and he was looking out the window and said: ‘Isn’t this gorgeous?’ He said all the nurses were angels and he just loved it,” she smiles.
“It sounds funny to say that someone loved a hospice because I think he knew that he would probably not go home again.
“Every week he would ask: ‘Do you have enough money to pay for this? How much is this costing?’ He could not believe that this was free care.”
Before he had a bed in the inpatient unit, Cameron Dewar From Langside in the south side of Glasgow, known to everyone as Cammie, was a day services patient after Rene, his wife and carer died. Receiving treatment for prostate cancer, a community nurse suggested Cammie should attend day services at Carlton Place and his three daughters – Eileen, Marilyn Yates and Elaine Taylor – thought it would benefit him as he was so low after Rene died and it would give him the company he missed.
“After a bit of persuasion he agreed to go. They sent patient transport for him and the first day when he came home he phoned all of us to say he’d had the most wonderful time. He had his morning coffee with scones and a fantastic lunch.
“He always looked forward to going. We would go in to visit him the day before at home and lay out what he was wearing. He had sports jackets and trousers and would have us running back and forward until he decided what he would be wearing.”
Adds Elaine: “In that period after mum died the hospice was a lifesaver for dad. He was a really chatty person, really sociable, and he met such interesting people when he came to day services.”
A keen gardener, Cammie kept an allotment for many years but had to give it up when he became ill. A garden bench outside day services in Carlton Place is now dedicated to him and Rene.
“We were always convinced there was a little bit of digging going on and a lot of talking,” smiles Elaine, “he was so sad when he had to give up the allotment.”
After two falls at home and lengthy stays in hospital, Cammie was delighted when a bed was found for him at the hospice.
Elaine, Eileen and Marilyn - Cammie Dewar's daughters
The care he received was wonderful, according to his daughters.
“Dad was a real gentleman and always dressed very dapper with his sports jacket and a shirt and tie, he was conscious of his appearance and was always clean shaven,” says Elaine.
“When he was in hospital the care wasn’t the same and when he felt dishevelled that really affected him.
“But when he came to the hospice everything was just immaculate. And that was a big thing for him.
“Because he had an allotment until he was quite elderly, he had working hands but he always looked after his hands. I remember coming in one day to visit him in the hospice and one of the nurses was rubbing cream into his hands – his hands were really dry after being in hospital for so long. It just made him feel good.”
A former wages clerk with Clyde Valley Power Company and the then the South of Scotland Electricity Board, Cammie served in the RAF during the Second World War. He married Rene during war and somehow managed to get hold of a parachute to make her wedding dress from the silk.
He loved participating in and watching sport and along with Rene was a long-standing member of Battlefield West Parish Church.
“Mum and dad got married in 1941, and then he went away and she didn’t see him for three years. He got home on leave and they went for a couple of days to Arran. That was all they got together and he was away again,” explains Marilyn.
“Mum was actually christened in the church where they were married. Dad joined the church and became an elder, and he was the longest serving elder at the church.”
Flooding in the local area meant the church was undermined by the River Cart and had to be pulled down. Eileen remembers the church grounds were covered in snowdrops and her parents spending long nights and weekends digging them up, putting them into plastic bags and selling them for 50p a bag.
“They raised £500 for the church back in 1980. All the church people bought the snowdrops, and lots of our friends and colleagues. I’ve still got mine and people still say to me every year that my dad’s snowdrops still come up,” she smiles.
Life revolved around the family and Cammie loved spending time with his eight grandsons.
“My son Kenneth, who is the oldest grandson, graduated the day before dad died. It was almost as if he’d hung on to wait so that he didn’t spoil the graduation day. I came straight to the hospice from Strathclyde University to tell him all about it,” says Eileen.
Elaine adds: “The hospice looked after us, the girls from the ward would have a sit down with us and ask how we were doing. They were helping dad ease away but they were also focused on looking after us.”
When Cammie was a day services patients his daughter got involved in fundraising for the hospice with Cathcart Friends Group. When its members retired, the sisters joined forces to set up South Side Friends. Over the years they have raised more than £50,000 for the hospice with annual coffee mornings and fundraising events.
“It’s important for us to do this so that other people can get what dad got,” says Eileen.