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17 Jul 2020 Community

Why Keith Senior supports the Sunflower Memories Appeal…

Kirkwood’s annual Sunflower Memories Appeal is a beautiful way to remember someone you love. For Keith Senior, it’s a way for him to remember his wife, Susan, each year and show his appreciation for Kirkwood.

Keith and Susan Senior married in 1991 and spent many wonderful years together in the small West Yorkshire town of Mirfield, before moving to Dewsbury around a decade ago.

Susan, who had worked as a Nursing Sister and District Nurse all her working life, was sadly diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease in 2012.

Susan’s husband, Keith, recalls how they first discovered her condition: “I remember being here at the bungalow in Dewsbury when my wife told me her legs felt funny. She was very good with computers and having being a nurse, she quickly diagnosed herself with Motor Neurone Disease.

“That was 14 months before she died of the disease.


“Things got steadily worse and Susan spent two or three weeks at Kirkwood prior to October 2013, to control her breathing, which was the last thing to go. But she didn’t die there. Susan wanted to die at Kirkwood rather than at home, she didn’t want people worrying about her.

“But the week after she was discharged from Kirkwood, she did in fact die at home in her bed, with her children all around her.

“Kirkwood was a wonderful place. The care from everybody, from the receptionists right through to the nursing staff, was unbelievable. I always remember that we’d visit every night, but you could spend time there. We’d share it out between us. I remember we’d go on a Friday night and stay while Sunday.

“Susan was always thankful of what Kirkwood were doing and what they could offer. She wanted to know about when she was going to die so she’d ask the nurses and doctors. She was very brave about that.

“One of the nurses, a friend of mine, told me that on one particular occasion as the nurses were bathing her, Susan whispered thank you. It made the staff cry.

“The love and care that Kirkwood has, it’s sometimes easy to care. But the amount of love that I experienced for me, and for Susan, I couldn’t believe it. God bless Kirkwood Hospice.”

Susan sadly died in 2013, and Keith has taken part in the Sunflower Memories Appeal ever since. He has also chosen to support Kirkwood in many other ways, including dedicating a brick in her name in the gardens at Kirkwood Hospice.

“I’ve known about Kirkwood for a long time because I worked in Huddersfield.” said Keith. “We were regular walkers at the Midnight Memory Walk and now, I get involved where I can.”

This year, the Kirklees community are unable to come together physically at the Sunflower Memories Appeal event on Saturday 11th July, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

But now, more than ever, it is important to unite and celebrate the lives of loved ones. This year, dedicate a sunflower to someone you love on Kirkwood’s Online Dedication page. Add photos and personal messages to your dedication that you can share with friends and family, wherever they are in the world.

To dedicate a sunflower for the Sunflower Memories Appeal, click here.

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