A FAMILY has been inspired to support charities that helped a loved one to face her final days with dignity.

Patricia Blowes, of Ferryhill, died of cancer in April this year at the age of 60.

She is survived by two sons, Keith, of Northampton, and John, of Spennymoor, and five grandchildren. Mrs Blowes was well known and respected in Ferryhill.

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For about seven years she and her husband, John, ran J&P Fruiters, in Osborne Terrace, after Mr Blowes left the Army, and she worked as a dinner lady at Ferryhill Business and Enterprise College.

She also cared for her disabled niece, Sandra Robinson.

Last September, Mrs Blowes was diagnosed with lung cancer which despite chemotherapy and radiotherapy spread to other parts of her body and claimed her life.

She was cared for by Marie Curie and Macmillan nurses and in the latter stages of illness at The Butterwick Hospice, in Bishop Auckland.

Her husband and brother, Patrick Walshe, of Doncaster, credit those organisations with making the difficult days more bearable for her and her family.

They have already donated money to Macmillan Cancer Support and Marie Curie, which was raised at her funeral.

Mr Walshe, 56, is now preparing to take part in the Ride London 100 event on Sunday, August 4, when 20,000 cyclists will ride 100 miles over a modified version of the London 2012 Olympic Road Race route.

He is appealing for sponsorship through the charity website justgiving.com/cyclingforpat or by texting PATB60 and the amount, £1 to £10, to 70070.

He said: “They gave her comfort and dignity at a time when she was only able to do so much for herself and gave John some valuable respite.

“Pat said herself she wanted me to ride for Butterwick.

“I was utterly impressed by the care that cancer nurses and the hospice gave, they are unsung heroes, helping people having an awful time, and really deserve our efforts.”

This weekend's charity ride will be the second sponsored cycle Mr Walshe has ridden in memory of a sister.

In 2011 he raised £4,000 by riding from John O'Groats to Land's End in memory of Margaret White, of Oxfordshire, who died of cancer in 1989.

Mr Blowes is also thanking the hospice, which has supported him with bereavement counselling, by becoming a volunteer gardener.

He said: “She thought the hospice was great, it was really valuable for her and me.

“They provide excellent care and I felt very supported.”