The family of a Newhall dad of six who lost his battle with cancer have heaped praise on staff at a local care home who went "above and beyond" for him and his family in his final weeks.

Former dustbin lorry driver Geoff Seagrave, 77, was left devastated last year when he was diagnosed with bowel and kidney cancer.

After a gruelling battle with the disease and an abundance of care from his wife Sandra, his daughters Karen Collier and Phillippa Yeomans, 46, decided to give Sandra some respite by sending Geoff to Nether Hall Care Home in Hartshorne.

Mum-of-three Karen, 44, said Geoff's stay at the care home was only meant to be short term but he "loved it there" from the minute he stepped foot in the facility.

She said: "He was diagnosed with bowel and kidney cancer 12 months ago and mum took on the role of caring for him at home. She was fantastic, up day and night with him and he was doing really well.

"We considered him going to Nether Hall Care Home for some respite because illness can take a toll on so many people, not just the person battling the condition but also those around them.

"He had an assessment and he was there that afternoon. He had lost his appetite and struggled to eat but as soon as he got there he was put at the table and he enjoyed a bit of soup.

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"We asked if we could stay and the first night we slept on chairs in his room but Phillippa went out and bought some airbeds and the care home gave us quilts and blankets so we could be by his side all the time.

"We decided not to leave him because he needed his family and he was settled there. When there he started to deteriorate quite quickly and it soon became clear that things weren’t going to get better.

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"We were living two lives juggling a family and caring for dad but we wouldn’t have had it any other way and we always took it in turns to make sure someone was there with him. Although the carers were there all the time we didn’t expect them to give them the care we could."

Karen, who works for IVC Brunel Healthcare, said she and her family were amazed at the care the dad of six received and praised the attention given to the whole family.

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She said: "It was meant to be short-term to give mum a break but the first few weeks he was loving it and he seemed happy. It soon became clear that the staff were going above and beyond.

"They always did us a meal and if we went out at mealtimes they would save us some. We were really overwhelmed because dad was their focus rather than us but they were there for us as much as they were for dad; we became part of the furniture.

"We got to know the carers and the residents very well and when dad was really poorly there was family coming and going and they didn't bat an eyelid. They put on a spread of sandwiches and crisps and made sure we had everything we needed."

Karen, who has been a carer in the past, said the support had lifted a weight off her shoulders.

She said: "We assumed we would have to work around the clock to get home to eat but they went out of their way to help us. We could nip home and they would call us if he wasn't well.

"I have cared for people in the past but it is very different when it is your family and what the staff at Nether Hall did took some of the stress off our shoulders.

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"It made us feel special and dad kept saying how amazing they all were that they were looking after his girls."

The family was so appreciative, that when Geoff died on October 2, two months after going into the care home, the family asked for proceeds from his funeral be donated to Nether Hall.

Karen said: "We called them our extended family because they accepted us during what was an emotional rollercoaster and a really hard time for my family.

"We were told beforehand that he wouldn’t last the night and four weeks later he was still with us, not 100 per cent but plodding along.

"When he did go he went on his own terms and there was a sigh of relief for the family that he was no longer in pain.

"The carers were so good to dad and people only ever hear the bad things about care homes so I thought the staff deserved to be recognised for their kindness.

"They were wonderful and I would like to say a big thank-you to them for giving dad the dedication they did; nothing was ever too much trouble."

Generous friends and family raised £300 at Geoff’s funeral which was donated to the care home to get whatever they needed for the residents.

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Karen said: "Outside of dad’s room they had a lovely bird table and a great view and we were able to feed the robins. Little touches like that are important and we know that anything that would make Nether Hall recognised or help them in any way would please dad."

Geoff, who was known for his "love of cups of tea and his love of dogs" was a grandad to 14 and loved to dote on them, building them all rocking horses when they were little.

Karen said: "He lived for his dog Lexi and was a real family man. He was an infectious character and he would help anybody and wouldn’t think anything of striking up a conversation with people he didn’t know.

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"He used to love walking the dog and meeting new people, he was a very social person. He would turn his hand to anything and loved to make nice things for the children when they were little.

"He was just the loveliest dad. He always called me Kaz; it was never Karen unless I was in trouble! I even had to change it on the order of service.

"This is my way of getting comfort and keeping his memory alive. We were so close and he was so loved. He will be missed by so many."

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