Joseph Conlon recalls our care for his brother Jim in 1985.

By Joseph Conlon:

“My brother Jim Conlon (pictured) was only 52 when he died. He had been having dizzy spells and then he collapsed in the street. He lived in Hermitage Road in Erdington then and they put him in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

“I lived in Sligo then and they sent for me to come to Birmingham. I remember really clearly that this doctor called us in and said ‘believe it or not, your brother has a brain tumour and it’s one of the biggest tumours I’ve ever seen’.

“My brother wanted to go back to Ireland so we took him back to Sligo but then after a while he wanted to come back to Birmingham as that was his second home. When we brought him to Birmingham he went into the hospice in Erdington.

“That was 1985 and my brother was in a ward with other people. I remember the man in the bed next to him asking me if we were Catholics. I said we were Catholic and he said he wasn’t but there was only one God who we all believed in. I thought that was really nice.

“My brother was in the hospice for a few weeks and I stayed for a while then went back to Sligo and then came back. I was only in my thirties then and had a young family, two small daughters, and I was doing what I could, going backwards and forwards between Ireland and Birmingham.

“The facilities at the hospice then weren’t really fancy, there wasn’t a lot of money and they didn’t have anything like a room where you could stay overnight. But they looked after my brother really well. They had great staff at the hospice. The care was first class and they couldn’t do enough for him.

“My brother died in 1985 and he wanted to go back to Ireland so we brought him back. My father worked at Dunlop in Birmingham but we also brought both my father and my mother back to Ireland when they died.”

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