Terminally ill man 'overwhelmed with kindness' as he starts epic bucket list
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He might only have a few months left to live - but Roger Pearce is determined to make the most of them.
And the Colchester 78-year-old says he has been "overwhelmed with kindness" as his day carers help him fulfil his bucket list of dreams.
The former taxi driver has been given the worst news anyone would want to hear due to a terminal heart condition.
He has also been left feeling lonely in the past few years, after the death of his wife, mother and son.
But ECL's Marylands day service, which provides daily companionship and support including a hot lunch, came up with the idea of creating a bucket list to make Mr Pearce's final days some of his most memorable.
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Working with ECL carers, he has come up with a list of dreams which include getting up close to nature, riding in a helicopter and seeing Elvis perform.
It has not been possible to make every dream a reality - Mr Pearce had to make do with a candlelit dinner opposite a cardboard cut-out of weather presenter Carol Kirkwood, as it wasn't possible to arrange a real date with his heart-throb.
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But ECL key worker Tony Brook has helped many of Mr Pearce's wishes come true, with Brenda O'Sullivan from Twilight Encounters visiting his home with three owls and tribute act Delvis Elvis sending a collection of memorabilia and DVDs.
Mr Pearce is also due to visit Yarra Farm, in Stanway Green, to meet more animals, while the Essex Symphony Orchestra has recorded a special one-off recital for him to conduct from the comfort of his home.
A helicopter flight is planned for April 12 from Earls Colne Air Field.
Mr Pearce, who volunteered for St John Ambulance for 16 years, said: “The wonderful team at ECL came up with the idea for the bucket list and I thought it was such a good idea because I’m doing some of the things I would never have dreamt of doing.
“I’m overwhelmed with the kindness. Everyone at ECL has been incredible throughout the pandemic. If I get into difficulty or something is worrying me, I can talk it over with any of the staff and get it sorted.
"Now they are fulfilling my dreams for the things I always wanted to do. Conducting the orchestra will be my favourite.”
Sherry Mills, manager at Marylands, says: “Roger is very sociable and at the forefront of organising card games sessions.
"He’s been the life and soul here and when we found out about his terminal diagnosis, we wanted to be part of his final days so suggested the bucket list.”
Mr Brooke, who has worked at Marylands since 2008, added: “It’s been really, really humbling to help make this a reality for Roger.
"As a key worker, my job is to support our customers and help them enjoy what they’re doing and it’s a privilege to do this for Roger.”