Terminally ill hospice patient reunited with beloved horse as birthday surprise

Jill Dowson 56 ,patient at Suttons John Eastwood Hospice reunited with her 13 year old pony Raffles, pictured with daughter Laura, 19.
Jill Dowson 56 ,patient at Suttons John Eastwood Hospice reunited with her 13 year old pony Raffles, pictured with daughter Laura, 19.

A terminally ill Mansfield gran was reunited with her beloved horse at Sutton’s John Eastwood Hospice.

Jill Dowson was able to spend precious moments with her pony Raffles after her friends, family and hospice staff to bring her in.

Jill Dowson 56 ,patient at Suttons John Eastwood Hospice reunited with her 13 year old pony Raffles, pictured with daughter Laura, 19.

Jill Dowson 56 ,patient at Suttons John Eastwood Hospice reunited with her 13 year old pony Raffles, pictured with daughter Laura, 19.

Her husband of 20 years John said: “Jill has not seen Raffles for three months and has not been outside for three weeks.

“We arranged with the people from the yard to come to the hospice last Thursday on Jill’s birthday.

“It was a complete surprise for her.

“We manouvered her out in her bed through the double doors and there was Raff - it was beautiful weather and it really made her day.

Jill Dowson 56 ,patient at Suttons John Eastwood Hospice reunited with her 13 year old pony Raffles.

Jill Dowson 56 ,patient at Suttons John Eastwood Hospice reunited with her 13 year old pony Raffles.

“She has been suffering from a rare cancer for over six years and recently moved into the hospice.

“They do allow pets to come and see their owners but its not often a horse comes in apparently.”

Jill and daughter Laura 19, have owned Raffles a 23 year old mare, for 13 years and she is stabled at Mansfield Woodhouse.

John added: “Jill wants to say thanks to her friends Karen Hallam, Dave Wilkinson and Andrea Parnell for making the birthday surprise happen - they did a great job in transporting Raffles.”

Jill’s grandaughter Bobbie aged 11 donated half of her pocket money to John Eastwood Hospice to thank them for looking after her grandma.

Jill worked for Nottinghamshire healthcare trust for 29 years and in that time used to oversee hotel services for John Eastwood Hospice.

John Eastwood Hospice Trust manager Diane Humphreys said: “We feel it is very important for patients to keep in touch with their pets and we do everything we can to faacliitate their pets coming in. It was Jill’s birthday and it was lovely that she was able to go outside and spend time with her family and her beautiful horse.”