Last month, my beautiful aunt – Beth Manister – lost her battle with cancer. She was just 47.

Beth was diagnosed with the disease in 2017 and despite fighting hard, she eventually lost the battle with the cruel disease.

Beth worked for the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) who continued to pay her during her treatment and eventual hospice care. Had the company not done this, Beth could have lost her home and faced months of hardship; a position no terminally ill person should ever have to find themselves in.

Beth was eventually able to return to work for a short time before receiving the dreadful news that cancer had returned and was untreatable. She passed away in St Elizabeth Hospice, Ipswich, surrounded by family and her 13-year-old son.

There is no doubt to our family that the financial support she received from MSC helped her immensely. Being able to continue to work when she could gave Beth something to aim for during the difficult and painful treatment process.

This is why I was so pleased to see that Colchester Borough Council had signed up to the TUC’s ‘Dying to Work’ charter. Dying to work provides employees who receive a terminal diagnosis with a ‘protected period’ of employment. It aims to support the employee, providing them with options in the workplace as well as counselling and financial support.

The Dying to Work charter also provides employees with a death in service payment once they pass away. MSC’s policy on just this meant that Beth was able to leave a legacy to her 13-year-old son.

Congratulations to Colchester Borough Council for taking this bold step. Thank you to everyone at the hospice who provided Beth with amazing care and treated her with absolute dignity throughout.

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