Young mum who brought joy to care home dies at 35
- Credit: Archant
Care home events’ organiser Emma Hales – who brought love, warmth and spontaneous joy to her residents, has sadly died. She was 35.
Her husband, Robin, announced that Emma passed away after contracting meningitis.
The couple, who have a six-year-old son, would have been celebrating their eighth wedding anniversary this year.
Emma joined Soham Lodge Care Home in 2019 and very quickly put her marker down that life should be fun.
“On her first day she came home said ‘right I am doing Pride – we will raise the flag’” he said.
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Robin said: “I simply smiled and said ‘you crack on’” and Emma quickly did just that.
Using Robin’s contacts in events management they invited a local drag queen and so ‘Soham Pride’ was launched.
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Emma said at the time it was prompted by the care home residents not being able to join a Pride in Ely event they had seen advertised.
"Unfortunately, it wasn't feasible getting everyone out," she said.
So, Pride in Ely agreed to bring rainbow cheer to the care home instead.
Drag queen Felicity Flappes entertained residents and their relatives with singing and banter amid rainbow decorations and festivities.
Robin recalls Emma as “certainly being a driving force – sometimes I couldn’t keep up with her. She was constantly on the go.”
But there were many more events to come, and Emma was always looking for new ways to enthral and entertain the residents.
And, as Robin recalls, she liked nothing better than to see her photos of events in the Ely Standard.
The couple settled in Ely a few years back after some time in Ireland.
Robin's parents had moved from Cambridge to Soham and they also decided to move there too.
Emma’s illness came suddenly when two weeks ago she woke, her head pounding.
“She told me she couldn’t take it anymore,” he said. “Emma had been at home for a few days feeling unwell but on that Saturday the pain worsened.”
Having been tested thrice weekly at work for Covid-19, she knew it must be a different illness.
She was admitted to hospital, tests were carried out, and doctors confirmed it was meningitis.
This week her condition worsened, and Emma slipped away. Organs have been used for transplant patients.
Robin remains in shock.
“It was all out of the blue,” he said. “We had our dreams; our goals and we thought our whole lives together.”
Funeral plans are being arranged and Robin wants to ensure anyone who knew Emma should attend if possible.
“It's not going to a funeral as such,” he said. “It will be a service of celebration for her work and life. She touched many people in such a short space of time.”
He added: “Emma leaves a huge hole in my and our son’s life and I know the community around us.
“Emma lived to help people and she loved with all her heart the residents, families and every member of staff at Soham lodge.
“Words cannot describe the pain in my heart right now, I am heartbroken beyond words.”