DESCRIBED by his daughter as her 'hero', John Thornton spent his last days in the home he bought and loved 60 years previously.

Diagnosed with both bowel cancer and dementia, it was Mr Thornton's wish to die at his Lancaster home.

His daughter, Tracey Liver, and her mother, Joyce, were the primary carers for Mr Thornton. Mrs Liver said that she does not think they would have been able to undertake the task without the Hospice at Home team.

"It wasn't just about my dad, it was about us as a family unit," she said. "One particular day we were having a bad day with dad, more with his dementia and he was getting weak at that point and two of the nurses happened to call in and we were struggling to get him back to bed. They just happened to come at the right time and they sorted him out.

"We were just talking and the nurse, I think she was called Wendy, she just stopped me in my tracks, looked me in the eye and said: 'I think you need a hug don't you?' and she just hugged me and I just sobbed.

"That helped because it meant it wasn't all about everybody else - I counted as well."

Mrs Liver spent the 'best part of a year' looking after her father, who she said was an 'avid reader' and the 'best husband' to her mum.

"They obviously care," she said, of the nurses who helped during that year. "They didn't know my dad or us but after a couple of visits you felt like they were friends.

"I can't find words to express really. They are angels, they're definitely angels."

After her 83-year-old father died on November 5 last year, Mrs Liver was in need of a new job. Despite the difficult time she had gone through, when the position of housekeeper arose at St John's Hospice, she had no doubts about applying.

"I've been there since February and I absolutely love it," she said. "It's not what people think. It's not just about people coming in for end of life care. It's not all doom and gloom

"In general it's such a lovely, calm, peaceful place - as happy as it can be. It's the best job I've had in my working life."