Football legend Dai Davies' widow appeals for hospice help

The widow of legendary Welsh goalkeeper Dai Davies has made a moving appeal for people to support the hospice that cared for him in his final months.

Lois Wynne, of Ifor Williams Trailers, Sarah Povey, community and event fundraiser at Nightingale, and Judy Davies. Photo: Mandy Jones
Lois Wynne, of Ifor Williams Trailers, Sarah Povey, community and event fundraiser at Nightingale, and Judy Davies. Photo: Mandy Jones

Former Wales international Dai died in February at the age of 72 from pancreatic cancer at his home in Llangollen, having received palliative care and rehabilitation at Nightingale House in Wrexham.

His wife Judy has voiced her gratitude for the help the hospice gave to Dai and is backing its fundraising Build a Balloon campaign, praising supporters and corporate sponsors including Ifor Williams Trailers.

Fundraising activities for Nightingale House that provides specialist palliative care services for people with life-limiting illnesses have been badly hit by the pandemic.

The annual running costs of the hospice are £3.4 million and 80 per cent of it has come from fundraising.

Judy said: “I so appreciate the support the wonderful sponsors give the hospice.

“The hospice is largely reliant on fundraising and donations to carry out its work and have seen have seen first-hand whilst Dai was supported at Nightingale House exactly how important this work is.

“It would be wonderful if people could put their support behind the Build A Balloon appeal as this week is the final week of the campaign before the balloon goes into production in Spain.”

The former Everton and Wrexham goalkeeper was transferred to the hospice from the Royal Liverpool Hospital last year after spending several weeks in hospital and without any visitors due to the pandemic.

Dai’s transfer to the hospice enabled him to be reunited with his family and receive the physiotherapy that saw him learn to walk again.

Judy said: “Dai’s days at Nightingale House and the wonderful care and support we both received when he was a Day Patient too, totally enhanced his quality of life during his final months.

“I also feel that it actually helped to prolong the precious time we had left together and I will be forever grateful to everyone at Nightingale House for the care he received.

"Nothing was too much trouble for example, when he arrived somebody had kindly put a small vase of fresh sweet peas from the hospice garden on his bedside table.

"Dai had been in hospital for several weeks, so coming to Nightingale House felt like a five-star hotel for him.

“It was wonderful to have him home eventually and that experience was made possible by the care and attention given to us all as a family by the team at Nightingale House."

"People often seem to think that a hospice is just where someone goes at the very end of their life, but it is so much more than that.

During his distinguished career, Dai was capped 52 times by Wales and kept goal for clubs including Swansea City, Tranmere Rovers and Bangor City.

After playing top-fight football with Everton, he joined Wrexham in 1977 and helped them win the Third Division title in 1977-78.

He went on to work as a football pundit and was also a popular figure away from the sport, with the proud Welsh speaker running a natural health clinic in Llangollen and being admitted to the prestigious Gorsedd of the Bards at the National Eisteddfod in 1978.

Judy and Dai were together for over 25 years and had three children and three step-children and 12 grandchildren and step-grandchildren.

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