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Words and pictures by Matt Bigwood, Stroud Times

One hundred people packed The Electric Picture House cinema in Wotton-under-Edge on October 22nd to listen to An Audience with Richard E Grant.

It was organised by Longfield Community Hospice and supported by Renishaw. Richard spoke about how Longfields Hospice at Home team had cared for his Joan. Before she died last year she set Richard a challenge to find a pocketful of happiness in every day. This turned out to be the inspiration for his deeply personal memoir.

Oscar nominee Richard told Stroud Times editor Ash Loveridge about the pivotal role Longfield Hospice played in Joans care.

“Longfield is incredible because in the last week of her life they came three times a day, and the most extraordinary thing was to have a palliative nurse who arrived at ten oclock at night and then would leave at six in the morning so that my daughter and I were able, for the first time to sleep through the whole night so that we weren’t climbing the walls, desperate to have any vestige of sleep,” said Richard.

“It was incredible and a very supportive thing that we had, for which I am incredibly indebted to them and grateful for.”

Longfield Hospice provides free care, 365 days a year for adults in Gloucestershire living with a life-limiting illness and support for their loved ones and carers. The charity costs more than £4.5million a year to run, with 90 per cent of its income raised through its shops and voluntary donations.

Richard, 65, who lives near Nailsworth, shot to fame in the 1987 film Withnail and I and Can you ever forgive me? His wife Joan Washington passed away last year after being diagnosed with stage four lung cancer.

“I’d been with my wife for 38 years. Our conversation began in January in bed in 1983 and ended in bed with her last breath on September 2, 2021. Our whole lives have been together.”