THE wife of an extrovert amateur dramatics star diagnosed with dementia has paid tribute to the St John's Hospice at Home nurses who came to her aid as his condition deteriorated.

Wilf Levey was struck down by the condition in 2011 and the 86-year-old later developed a heart condition leaving him in need of care from both his wife and nurses at his Slyne home.

Sue Levey, Wilf's wife of 16 years, said that if it was not for the nurses she would not have been able to keep her husband at home.

"I'd always said to him that he'd never go into care, I promised him that," she said. "I didn't know about the Hospice at Home team. I didn't know about the district nurses. It's not something you really know until you find that you need it."


Mrs Levey, 72, said that it was 'awful' watching her husband as his condition deteriorated - in particular, the terminal agitation that he suffered with.

"It's absolutely dreadful because you just don't know what they want," she said. "I can't tell you how much the nurses' help meant to me because to see somebody like that - agitated and you can't do anything - I can't even describe how you feel.

"They were there and they always made me feel that it didn't matter what time of the day or night it was, I could ring. That was unbelievable. I lived in fear of that agitation being there and to know that they were at the end of the phone and would come - they were lovely, they were wonderful."

Mr Levey was well known in his local community, in part thanks to his time spent in musicals and plays - he starred in Oliver, The Sound of Music and The Fiddler on the Roof, amongst others.

"As soon as he saw you he would try to entertain you, telling you jokes," said Mrs Levey. "He really was a character."

Sadly, over time Mr Levey lost his ability to tell his jokes or to enjoy ballroom dancing and bowling with his wife.

"It was so sad to see him - how he got," Mrs Levey said. "His memory was going and he was aware of it. Then this heart failure just came."

Mr Levey passed away on May 10 this year and it was the Hospice at Home nurses that his wife rang when it happened.

"They treated him with respect," Mrs Levey recalled. "Even when he wasn't awake. The main thing for me was the fact that if anything was wrong they were at the end of the phone for me and they made me feel like it was okay to ring at any time - which I did.

"The most important thing for me was to know that they were there."

If you or your family has been helped by a Hospice at Home nurse and would like to share your story, please contact Sara Royle on 01539 790260 or email