FOR Brian Fereday it was 'paramount' that he was able to stay at home during the last few weeks of his life.

Unable to talk or walk due to his motor neurone disease diagnosis, staying in his own home meant that Brian, a 'man of nature', was able to look out on to his garden and hear the birds.

Fiona, his wife, explained that the Hospice at Home team began to visit their Levens home in the days leading up to Brian's death in February of this year.

"It was in the last few weeks that they were amazing. They would come and, together with the district nurses, they kept an eye on his fluids and medication," Fiona said. "They were very supportive to me and also very calm and very quiet. At that time, when somebody's in the last stages of their life, it's just what you want really."

Brian first started showing symptoms of motor neurone in 2013 but was not officially diagnosed until April 2014. Eventually, he was left bedridden and unable to speak.

Previously the head forester at Sizergh Castle, Brian was passionate about the outdoors - even when he was ill during the winter months, he would have the doors open onto his garden.

"He was passionate about orchards and woodlands and conservation - that was very important to him," Fiona said. "He was always out, always doing - I think the worst part was when he couldn't walk."

Fiona was determined to look after Brian at home and although she said it was extremely difficult to see her husband deteriorating, the nurses offered just the support she needed to cope.

Brian passed away in February this year, aged 65 - at all times, Fiona felt there was a 'calmness' in the room thanks to the nurses.

"I just want to thank them for the very special care and dignified care of Brian at the end - they did keep dignity there for him which I think is so crucial," she said. "I will be always grateful for their special care."