Death of end-of-life wedding patient
Date of release: 14 March 2023
A cancer patient who was married for just four months has died, with a service to celebrate his life taking place on what would have been his 50th birthday.
Phil Gigon, from Fordhouses, died on 29 January after battling cancer of the lungs, kidney, liver and spine. He had married partner of 24 years Kay McKnight on October 5, 2022, at home surrounded and supported by family and friends in a ceremony organised through The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust.
Daughter Lia and widow Kay at Phil's memorial service on what would have been his 50th birthday
Kay, 45, their daughter Lia, 11, and family and friends, were determined Phil would be remembered fondly and so organised a memorial service at The Harrowby Arms pub in Fordhouses in a joint celebration for what would have been his half century, on March 10.
In a sad twist, Duke, the family’s devoted Staffordshire Bull Terrier, died just two days after Phil, at the age of 15.
“Phil was a lovely, caring, hardworking man,” said Kay, who now wears Phil’s silver wedding ring on her left thumb. “He always wanted to do the best for us. He held on for as long as he could and he didn’t want to show what he was going through.
“He wanted to make sure he saw Christmas and Lia’s birthday as she was 11 in December.
“He wanted to carry on living and still loved to laugh. Hayley (Webber, close friend who works for Compton Hospice) would come round and he’d take the mickey and tell her where to go!
“Even in his last few weeks, he was trying to learn to play the keyboard in his wheelchair.”
Lia decorated a donation box in glitter and stars to raise money to buy a star in her dad’s memory. Proceeds from a GoFundMe fundraising page organised by Phil’s friend Lyndon Jones raised money for flowers.
“He always used to say he loved us to the moon and back, and he had a telescope so we can look at the stars and remember him,” added Kay.
A hardworking man, Phil was a self-employed builder, doing home improvements. A real ‘people person’, he loved his camping holidays with his family and friends in the camper van he built himself, so it seems natural to Kay that his ashes will be scattered in four different places.
Phil and Kay on their wedding day with daughter Lia
Dave, a friend of Phil’s from the Army, is taking some to Thailand – a place Phil wanted to visit – to release from a hot air balloon. Phil’s sisters Tonya Leach and Helen Alton are sharing some near their respective homes in Newquay and Cheshire, with the rest to be spread in Tenby, one of the many places the family liked to visit on holidays in their camper van.
Phil was admitted to New Cross Hospital on September 19 before being transferred to Ward C41 three days later. He received his diagnosis in late September and he left hospital on October 5.
Before he was discharged, Phil asked nurses if they could arrange the wedding, so Edd Stock, Chaplain at the Trust, secured a special licence from the Archbishop of Canterbury which enables weddings to take place at short notice. Phil and Kay were married on the same day he returned home.
Edd said: “I was honoured and privileged to say a tribute to Phil at his memorial service and to have performed the wedding of Phil and Kay.”
After his discharge from hospital, Phil received care from Compton Care at home. Kay said: “Compton Care was absolutely fantastic. One nurse, Natalie, Phil really liked. At the beginning, they were coming a couple of times a week, then he perked up. Then it was every other week or whenever we needed them. They made sure he was OK.”
Notes to Editor
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