Man raises £1,000 for Sheffield hospice with sales of book he wrote in wife’s memory

A devoted husband has raised £1,000 for the hospice who cared for his late wife by writing a book about how he coped with grief.

By Rochelle Barrand
Wednesday, 21st August 2019, 12:00 pm
Barbara Jennings, of Sheffield, who died of brain cancer in 2016, with her husband Ian.
Barbara Jennings, of Sheffield, who died of brain cancer in 2016, with her husband Ian.

Ian Jennings wrote ‘By a Departing Light’, which is about the journey of grief, loss and recovery, in memory of his wife Barbara who died of brain cancer at the age of 65.

Together for over forty years, at the time of her death, the couple were looking forward to retirement together.

Remembering his wife, who he was married to for 43 years before she died in 2016, Ian said: “She was a vibrant personality who had a great zest for life.”

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The family of Barbara Jennings, of Sheffield, who died of brain cancer in 2016, raise a toast to her. Holding a photo of her is her husband Ian.

Ian decided that all money raised from the sale of copies his book, which is available to buy now, would go towards St Luke's Hospice, where Barbara received care.

He said: “St Luke’s Hospice is an extraordinary place. It breathes life, which I know is an odd comment when so many people go there for ‘end of life care.’

“But there is a depth of humanity and warmth of kindness in every member of the staff; from consultants to ancillary staff.

“No patient is patronised; all are treated with respect for the value and dignity of every human life. That’s why I decided that all profits from the sale of my book would go to the work of St Luke’s.

Barbara Jennings, of Sheffield, who died of brain cancer in 2016.

“I am delighted to have achieved the first £1,000 and hope that we may achieve another £2,000.”

Ian visited St Luke’s Hospice to meet with staff and present them with a cheque for £1,000. He decided to write the book, which is called ‘By a Departing Light’ as this is the title of one of Barbara’s favourite poems by Emily Dickinson, when himself and Barbara were given the heartbreaking news that her condition was terminal and she had only a few months to live.

It was his wife who gave him the idea of writing his feelings in a book to be shared with others.

Ian, who was the Rector of All Saints in Aston before his retirement, said: “We stood together in the kitchen and held each other and wept. She said ‘I can’t believe I have to leave you in a few months’.

“Then, she paused a while and added ‘you should write a book about this’. I think her instinct was that writing would prove to have real therapeutic value for me, and that maybe others on the same journey may be helped by the book. Both of those things have turned out to be the case.”

The book has received 13 five star reviews on Amazon, with readers thanking Ian for his honest and open account of how he coped with the loss of a loved one.

The book, which costs £7.99, is available to buy now on Amazon, both as a paper back and as an eBook. It can also be bought from CLC Bookshop, city centre, or in the Cathedral shop.

You can also buy the book direct from Ian by emailing [email protected], and he will send a copy to you.