Final wish granted as horse and dog visit dying owner at Danetre Hospital

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A terminally ill man had his dying wish granted when his horse and dog were allowed to make a final visit to the hospital grounds five days before he passed away.

One of Derick Cooper's final wishes was to be able to say goodbye to Spot, the white horse that had provided companionship to him for more than 18 years.

Last month, Derick was transported outside on his hospital bed by the staff at Danetre Hospital in Daventry, where he was able to see Spot again in the sunlight.

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His dog, Izzy, was permitted to visit as well, and she spent some time sitting with Derick and comforting him before she made herself well-known among the medical personnel.

Derick Cooper pictured with Spot, his friends, and the staff at Danetre Hospital in Daventry.Derick Cooper pictured with Spot, his friends, and the staff at Danetre Hospital in Daventry.
Derick Cooper pictured with Spot, his friends, and the staff at Danetre Hospital in Daventry.

Some of Derick's closest friends, Mia Ball and her family, took Spot and Izzy to the hospital.

Mia said: “That horse was his entire life. The horse absolutely loved Derick. It was good.

“He was thrilled, and he spent probably the best part of 10 minutes outside, which I know doesn't sound like a lot, but for somebody who was very poorly, he was brilliant.”

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Derick spent his entire life in Long Buckby. He passed away at the age of 78 on May 17, 2024, from lung and bowel cancer, which had spread to other parts of his body after he had been ill for more than two years.

Spot visited Derick Cooper together with his friends on May 12, 2024.Spot visited Derick Cooper together with his friends on May 12, 2024.
Spot visited Derick Cooper together with his friends on May 12, 2024.

“He was a very humorous person. He would literally stand and talk to anyone about anything.

“His friends really shone through. He had a stroke, so he was really struggling with his mobility,” said Mia.

Mia and her family had known Derick for more than 13 years since they lived in the same area, and Derick used to let Mia ride Spot. For around six years, Mia's involvement with the horse was her main focus. Three generations have ridden Spot up to this point.

“I had an absolute passion and love for horses.

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Derick Cooper pictured with Spot, his friends, and the staff at Danetre Hospital in Daventry.Derick Cooper pictured with Spot, his friends, and the staff at Danetre Hospital in Daventry.
Derick Cooper pictured with Spot, his friends, and the staff at Danetre Hospital in Daventry.

“I desperately, desperately wanted a horse, and it was never going to be something that I was able to achieve, and he basically made my childhood dream into a reality,” said Mia.

Derick had been at Northampton General Hospital for almost a month before being transferred to Danetre Hospital for palliative care, where he resided until he passed away.

“He actually said, ‘I need to go to the hospital,’ which is very unlike him… but he went and then never came back out.

“He did well, though. He fought a very long battle. They were caring, attentive, and full of empathy, and for Derick to have his last few days in Dantre really put us all at ease,” said Mia.

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On May 12, Spot and Izzy visited Derick in Danetre Hospital, escorted by Mia and a few of Derick's closest friends.

“Derick was over the moon to see his horse.

“They were best friends, and we could see how pleased Spot was too. He became quite popular within Danetre Hospital and continues to be something of a celebrity in his home village too,” said Mia.

Mia revealed that Derick was an avid reader of this newspaper and that, among his final wishes, he wanted to see photographs of Spot in it.

“That was probably the only thing he said in the last five days of his life,” said Mia.

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