From partying to puppy parenthood, and endless outdoor pursuits, Dave Felton and his wife, Augusta, lived an adventure. Here, Dave remembers their 31 years together and explains why he’ll be ‘forever grateful’ to the hospice.
‘I met Augusta on a night out in 1988, when I was in my twenties. I was taking a break from dating but Augusta scuppered those plans! We stayed up all night drinking and laughing and a couple of days later, I joined her for a swim – something she did every day – which was our first unofficial date. We were inseparable from then onwards.
‘Life with Augusta was never dull. She was obsessed with motorbikes – you’d always know she’d arrived from the ground rattling outside! My girl also loved a party, and we spent most of our twenties in a haze of raving or hosting our friends. Augusta earnt a reputation as bing the last to leave the dancefloor – she never wanted the night to end.
‘We bought our first home after five years together, which was the perfect opportunity to get our first puppy, Beryl. Life changed overnight! We were besotted and suddenly became devoted parents, often leaving the pub early to come home to her.
‘Augusta and I did so much together. When we weren’t working, we’d be at the gym, rock-climbing, practicing yoga or mountain biking. We enjoyed epic holidays too; we’d often spend a week living on a dive boat on the Red Sea – the scuba diving was incredible! Our love of the outdoors moved us to Chingford, where we lived for 17 years. We wanted to be closer to Epping Forest, a place we often frequented on our bikes, and we ended up getting married at a hotel there, which was followed by a huge party in our back garden. Our friends still say it’s the best wedding they’ve ever attended!
‘Augusta was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005. She was brave and determined, and we kept life as normal as possible. Thankfully, after gruelling treatment, she went into remission. Only two years after surgery she trekked around the Himalayas in support of Breast Cancer Care. She raised almost £9000 to help others. What a woman!
‘Life with Augusta was never dull’
‘In 2013, Augusta was experiencing pain under one of her arms. It turned out she had a different strain of breast cancer, and this time the prognosis wasn’t positive. It had spread to her bones and brain. treatment at this point could only manage Augusta’s symptoms and prolong her life.
‘Just over two years ago, we moved to Lewes with our Cockapoo, Molly, so that we could be closer to Augusta’s family. the relocation meant that I could stop working, to spend quality time with my girl. We had a great year – Augusta was a homemaker and loved furnishing the new house with eclectic furniture and decking it out with fairy lights!
‘Sadly, Augusta deteriorated rapidly and came to the hospice in May 2018. She had significant pain and was very weak. We were told she had just a few weeks to live… Obviously, in true Augusta spirit, she lived for another eight months!
‘I visited every day with Molly. We spent last summer sitting outside in the stunning hospice gardens, enjoying the view and visits from the hospice donkeys, and reminiscing. We made plans for Augusta’s funeral too; she was accepting of the fact she was going to die and I’m so glad we talked about her wishes. Augusta loved the countryside and so many of our memories centre around nature, so to be able to spend previous time together in such a beautiful place meant so much to us both.
‘In February this year, with me at her side and Molly lying on her as he always did, Augusta died peacefully at the hospice. Life without her is strange and certainly quieter, but I’m keeping busy and proudly honouring her memory. I’m leaving the hospice a gift in my Will, and have a memorial stone in the hospice’s Walk of Life. Our whole experience of the hospice was one of outstanding care and comfort for which I am eternally grateful, so I’m happy to be able to give something back.
‘My wife was beautiful, brave, strong-minded and hard work at times! I loved her immensely and I am so proud to have been her husband.’