A TALE about a late beloved family pet from Blaenporth has raised more than £1,000 for terminal illness charity Marie Curie.

Gina Williams, whose husband Gwyn receives support from Marie Curie Nurses and the specialist dementia nursing team the charity provides within West Wales, donated £1,101.25 to the teams this week.

Marie Curie provides care and support to people living with a terminal illness, and their families in their own homes.

Speaking of how the idea came about to raise the funds in this unique way, Gina said that when their cat Monty was put down 11 years ago, the couple were heartbroken.

“We’d had him for eight years, he was a ginger and white fluffy cat – and he was the boss,” she said.

“He was our baby, we both idolised him, it took us a long time to get over his death. I started writing down the stories about Monty and decided I would put them all together and gave it to Gwyn on his 71st birthday. The book was then put away and forgotten about.

“My daughter was helping me clear out the office room, when she came across the book. I could hear her giggling in the other room, and when she showed me the book, she said you should get this printed.

“I said ‘don’t be silly’ at first, but then I started thinking about it after a while, and that’s what started the ball rolling.

“Now my daughter has helped me put it into a digital file. Her workplace has helped put it together.”

She said it “came naturally” to raise funds for Marie Curie through the book, which is dedicated to Gwyn. It proved so popular it has sold out and has even received some fan-mail.

Gwyn was diagnosed with dementia in spring 2015, and initially the condition progressed very slowly, but since 2017 his symptoms have increased.

Gwyn, who was an artificial inseminator for cattle and retired at 77, was referred to Marie Curie through the older adults mental health service memory clinic, and the couple were visited by Angela Powell, Marie Curie clinical nurse manager for the specialist dementia service.

“It’s made a whole lot of difference to my life,” said Gina, who has been able to also have support from independent West Wales hospice Skanda Vale after the two charities worked together to provide further support.

“I can be up and down several times in the night when I’m caring for him, and then I can’t get back to sleep. So it does make a difference, when I have respite overnight. I can have a good seven hours, which is bliss.”

She added that any support in the daytime allows her to do the garden, go for a walk or go into town.

“I don’t know what I would have done without them,” she said.

“They’re a good team and he gets on well with them. When I look back, I think how did I manage, it was hard work. It’s still hard work but now I’ve got help.”

Speaking about Gwyn before his diagnosis, she said he was a “happy man” who played golf and read a lot, adding: “He loved music, travelled and loved his garden.”