Chris and Tony Ashton

Chris and Tony Ashton

Chris Ashton tells us how our Hospice at Home team helps her and her husband, Reverend Tony, feel safe.

“The carers are so kind and empathetic. It helps me feel safe knowing they are there, and that I am not alone. They feel like friends and are just so very professional.”

Chris Ashton is the main carer for her husband Tony who has recently been diagnosed with cancer of the right lung and kidney.

Married for 60 years, the couple met through the Church.

Chris and Tony Ashton.

Early life

Chris was not impressed when she first met Tony.

“I thought he was horrible, he looked very snobby and I felt I was too lower class for him until I got to know him. My Dad died when I was 17 so we had to have someone come and live with us to help us pay our way. I was horrified, but that’s how we found each other.” explains Chris.

“Chris was doing a nursing course at our local hospital in Rugby and I was doing a HND in Engineering which led to a job testing diesel engines for big ships.” continues Tony. “But I turned to the Ministry at 26.”

“I was ordained into the Church of England, so that meant we were travelling around all over the country in various different places, the last parish we had was Chesterfield. We lived in London, two places in Sheffield, had an inner city parish in Bradford, then Chesterfield and then here.

“Having served as a reverend and a vicar, we retired to Stafford because both my parents were born and lived here all their lives. They built this house because Dad was a keen golfer and there’s a golf course the other side of the garden wall.”

Chris with her loom.

A happy retirement

The couple have spent many happy years in retirement focussing on creative hobbies and home improvements. Tony completed many renovations with Chris’s help even making a beautiful oak three-piece suite which she upholstered.

Chris is a self-taught weaver and using several looms, some of which were made by Tony, makes a wide range of beautiful household and fashion items.

Sadly, Chris was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in May 2023 and underwent surgery in August. Although she has been given the all clear further scans have shown some signs of peritoneal cancer which are being investigated. Her chemotherapy treatment is tiring and she finds the support of our care teams invaluable.

“The respite they offer is such a blessing, knowing I can go out and Tony is safe.”

Tony with Healthcare Assistant Tracey.

Our help

Tony was unaware of his cancer until December 2023 when feeling unwell led to a trip to Accident and Emergency where tests confirmed his diagnosis. Tony also struggles with sleep and gets very confused at night.

Our expert teams initially stepped in with crisis support and now provide carer visits and nights sits.

“It’s twice a week on average and a night time sit once every seven – 14 days.” Chris tells us. “All I can say is I’m so grateful and I literally go in my bedroom about 11 o’clock when they’re here, shut the door and I can sleep and know that he’s safe. That’s peace of mind and I don’t have to worry, because if he calls I’ve got to get up, and my chemo has made me very tired.”

“It’s saving us really, it’s keeping us safe.”

“To have a good sleep at night, knowing Tony is safe, is incredible.”

 “They come at night time to look after us, just to stay awake in case I need them.” continues Tony. I can’t tell you how much we value that, it’s a huge plus for us.”

Chris chats with Healthcare Assistant Tracey


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