Final push to reach fundraising target in memory of Burton Latimer man

Leslie Ellson.
Leslie Ellson.

The family of a Burton Latimer man are making a final push to reach their fundraising target by what would have been his birthday.

On April 16, after spending seven weeks in Kettering General Hospital’s Barnwell C ward, Leslie Ellison lost his battle with sepsis and leukaemia.

Some of the cards using Leslie's paintings.

Some of the cards using Leslie's paintings.

One of his few pleasures in his final weeks was sipping ice cold water, which soothed his throat and kept him refreshed.

Because his ward did not have its own ice machine it wasn’t always available and in the hot, stuffy bays and siderooms tap water soon becomes warm and unappealing.

In his memory Leslie’s family have been raising money to buy an ice machine and have already raised more than £2,500.

Now they are making one final push to reach their fundraising target by what would have been his 84th birthday on July 22 .

Leslie’s daughter Kathryn Jones, 47, who also lives in Burton Latimer, said: “As a family we had already decided to go away with mum for dad’s birthday as we couldn’t bear to be at home.

“If we could raise the final £1,000 in time for July 22 , I can’t think of a better tribute to dad.”

Despite commercial ice machines being expensive due to strict health and safety restrictions – with a price tag of around £3,000 – the family has not been deterred.

Now, with the final goal in sight, to raise a total of £3,500 to pay for the ice machine and one year’s maintenance, Leslie’s wife Barbara has donated a range of beautiful greetings cards.

The cards feature 10 of Leslie’s colourful paintings of flowers from his garden – lilac, penstemon, ceanothus, snow drops, a rambling rose, cyclamen, daffodils, passion flower, blossom and prairie flowers, which he cultured from seeds after a trip to the United States.

They are being offered for a suggested donation of just £1 per card, with 100 per cent of proceeds going direct to the hospital.

Kathryn said: “It means patients can really benefit from the ice machine during all the hot weather we are experiencing.

“The cards are genuinely lovely, as cheap as any you’d find in a supermarket, for a good cause.

“Raising funds for the hospital, as a way of saying ‘thank you’ for everything they did for dad over the years, has helped me focus on doing something positive.

“After seeing how much he relied on blood and platelet transfusions, I’ve also become a regular blood donor too by giving my third donation last month, which I was told ended up in Plymouth.

“His strength and optimism inspired me so much.

“I’ve not just lost my dad, I’ve lost a friend too. I miss him every day.”

The greetings cards can be ordered by emailing Kathryn.l.jones@hotmail.co.uk

You can also find out more about Leslie, view the range of cards and learn about the appeal at www.wildlifeinwatercolour.co.uk.