Brave Gillian to share memories of Tom and his 'beautiful smile' at Bluebell Wood ball

Gillian Scotford shares a smile with her son Tom
Gillian Scotford shares a smile with her son Tom

A mum whose son died in her arms at Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice has opened up about the heartbreaking day she had to say her final goodbye.

Tom Scotford, 21, peacefully drew his last breath in Bluebell Wood’s Forget Me Not suite in 2017 to Eva Cassidy’s Field’s of Gold, surrounded by his loving family.

Tom, who was diagnosed with DiGeorge Syndrome, a heart defect and brain damage, was one of the first children to use the hospice when it opened in 2008.

Now his mum Gillian Scotford has told their stor as she prepares to speak at Bluebell Wood’s Masquerade Ball in September.

Gillian, from Dronfield, said: “Tom needed constant care 24/7 and we knew any moment he could die, so being able to come here and have someone say ‘we’ll take over’ was amazing.

“The hospice was purpose-built for children like Tom.

“I remember him in the music room, flapping his hands in an uncoordinated way, while the nurses put a piano in front of him and helped him hit those notes.

“He was really laughing.

“There is so much sadness at Bluebell Wood but the staff make sure every day is surrounded with happiness and moments to treasure.”

In February 2017, soon after Tom turned 21, he stopped breathing after having a serious fit and was rushed to intensive care.

Gillian recalled: “It was the day we’d been dreading.

“I knew he’d had a major bleed on his brain and probably wouldn’t recover.

“He’d always had this beautiful smile, and I thought, if he couldn’t smile, it would be kinder to let him go.”

The family made the impossible decision to turn off Tom’s life support, but after he battled on a little longer, they decided to take him to Bluebell Wood to say goodbye.

Gillian said: “My sister put on the song Fields of Gold and just before the end of the song he slipped away so peacefully.

“I came out and lay on the sofa overlooking the garden, and I saw a rainbow going down to the garden and just thought that rainbow was coming to get Tom.”

Gillian lived and breathed Bluebell Wood for many years, and her fundraising efforts and support, which began before the hospice opened, continue to this day.

She will be sharing her story at Bluebell Wood’s Masquerade Ball at the Sheffield City Hall Ballroom on September 21.

Tickets are available on 01909 517365 or here.