THE St John's Hospice at Home team made sure that Dr Jennifer Newton was able to experience a sense of normality in her final days.

A conservationist who 'trod lightly on the earth', Dr Newton was educated at both Oxford and Cambridge. She was awarded an MBE for her services to nature conservation in north Lancashire.

It was important to her family that this 'ace mum' should still be able to be herself in her last weeks. Diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2012 and given just six months to live, the Hospice at Home nurses assisted in making her final days as normal as possible.

"For mum there was some really practical things," her daughter, Siobhan, said. "My mum was a scientist so she spent a lot of time with her books. She was still reading four or five days before she died and if she had been in hospital she would have been deprived of that comfort and that sense of normality."

Dr Newton's husband, David, was given 'peace of mind' knowing that the Hospice at Home nurses would be on hand to look after his wife.

"The nurses were particularly brilliant with my dad," Siobhan said. "They were just so kind and gentle with him. They didn't force him to face stuff that he didn't want to but they were also very supportive and they came round and had a cup of tea with him after mum died."

In her Hornby home, Dr Newton could spend time in the garden that she had spent her life building, as well as enjoying a particularly special birthday treat.

"Mum died just a week after her birthday," Siobhan said. "We'd planned to take her to Miller Howe for afternoon tea but she was too poorly. My husband drove to Miller Howe and they very kindly packed us up afternoon tea on all their own crockery and we had mum's afternoon tea at home.

"We could do that kind of stuff easily without having to mess about with hospital rules."

Both practical and introverted, it was important for Siobhan's parents that they could plan for Dr Newton's death, which eventually came in March 2013, . She was 76-years-old.

"The fact that you can plan means it's easier because stuff doesn't come as a shock. You can feel more in control of it so you feel as if you're actually choosing things," Siobhan said. "I think it's very, very easy to be overwhelmed and then defined by 'you are dying'. Well, actually, you are dying - but you're also living.

"The nurses bring calmness and competence into what can feel like a life tipped upside down."