Compassionate Communities - Heather and Tony Story
Tony Speechley perhaps said it best himself.
“I’ve had a marvellous life.”
In December 2019, the 75-year-old Albany local died at home with the support of his wife, close friends and a supportive palliative care nurse.
The last few months of his life, in which he lived with a terminal illness, are the basis of a new film, which tells the story of Tony’s choice to die at home, and how his wife and carer, Heather, and their local community rallied together to support that choice.
As avid cyclists Tony and Heather had formed strong bonds in their local community, particularly through the Albany Over 50s Cycling Club.
It was with the support and assistance from this cycling club, neighbours and friends that Heather cared for Tony.
Members of the club came together to offer their support to the couple, by spending time with Tony and allowing Heather to take time out for herself.
The experience of supporting Heather and Tony has brought the cycling club closer.
The Over 50s Cycle Club like everyone has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The club has cancelled all group rides and are now adapting to support each other and ensure connections within their group are maintained.
Many in the group are embracing technology to stay connected.
They continue to ride, either individually or with a partner, but share their journey virtually on an app that enables them to continue to speak and motivate one another.
Many of them continue to remember Tony by doing a ride along the Nullaki Peninsula they have named after him. Often they pass each other on the ride.