A TERMINALLY ill mother enjoyed an extra special early Christmas celebration with her family.

Elaine Goddard, 51, was worried she would not be able to take part in the festive celebrations with her husband Adrian, 52, daughter Jasmine, 21, and son Guy, 19.

So staff at St Catherine’s Hospice in Crawley, where she is currently staying, stepped in to help.

Mrs Goddard, from Horsham, said: “St Catherine’s helped me decorate my room with a Christmas tree, twinkling lights and hanging decorations.

“They’re very amenable and the nursing staff loved the idea of bringing Christmas forward as much as I did.

“I wanted to be able to celebrate a nice day with my family and give them some gifts.

“We brought in food and the nurses took pictures with my family and sang along to Christmas music.”

Mrs Goddard, who has brain tumours, said she enjoyed watching her family open their presents.

She said: “At the moment my health is rapidly going downhill.

“My illness has affected my vision, speech and hearing but I still want to fully take part in things and St Catherine’s is helping me do that.

“I’ve always loved celebrating and it’s brilliant I can continue to celebrate at the hospice.

“It means a lot that I can make things as lovely as possible for everybody.

“It was a big shock finding out I’d got cancer as I’d never even been ill before and it meant all my plans for the future were gone.

“When St Catherine’s was mentioned I automatically thought it’s the end.

“At the hospice everyone is so happy and positive though, and it’s taken away my fear because I know I’ll be looked after and the team will make me as pain free as possible.

“The only thing I can’t do is protect my family and I worry about them being left behind but I know they’ll support each other. Now I’ve come to terms with things I’m adjusting my life to try and fit in as many memories as I can.”

Mrs Goddard said the hospice was like a family and staff and volunteers could not do enough for her.

She said: “I always thought a hospice would be miserable and depressing but it’s not at all, it’s lovely.

“It’s been a complete eye-opener learning what a hospice actually is and it’s one of the most worthwhile charities you can support.

“Helping me make the end of my life enjoyable has been one of the greatest gifts the hospice could give me and my family.”