A widower is set to honour the legacy of his fundraising wife following her death as a result of Parkinson’s disease.

Mike Hopkins, of Tyson Square in Ulverston, has spoken about the 'brilliant' care his wife, Sheila, received at St Mary's Hospice during the final weeks of her life.

And the 'harrowing' experience faced by the couple has led Mike to pledge to say thank you for that care.

“You do not realise what a brilliant job they do until you experience it yourself unfortunately,” the 75-year-old said.

“I wanted to repay them for what they did for Sheila and me during the last few weeks of her life.

“The last few months of her life was harrowing and horrible.

“Her Parkinson’s just got worse and worse from November 2020 and there was nothing we could do about it.

“There is medicine to help with the side effects and that helped for more than 17 years as she was diagnosed in 2004, but it just took a hold of her from November.

“The hallucinations were awful; one time she called the police over an incident in the street that just was not happening.”

Sheila Hopkins – nicknamed ‘Queen of the Skies’ for her charity skydive back in 2017 – died at the age of 83 on January 23.

“It was tough to watch her decline as she was such a life-force and would do anything for anyone,” Mr Hopkins added.

“She never saw the bad side of anyone and me and everyone else in the community will miss her.”

The former Sainsbury’s worker was popular and well-known in the community, especially in the close-knit area of their sheltered accommodation, and she completed a skydive on her 80th birthday in 2017, raising more than £2,000 for Parkinson’s UK.

Mr Hopkins hopes to follow in her charitable footsteps, but due to his fear of heights, he will be doing an 88-mile walk instead of a skydive.

On August 17, he will be starting a walk of the whole length of the Oxford Canal from Oxford city centre to Coventry Canal Basin at a pace of about eight miles a day over 10 days.

Speaking on why he chose Oxford Canal, the former bus driver said: “I have been a lifetime enthusiast of our brilliant canal system, and the Oxford holds a special interest for me.

"It was one of the first to be completed in 1790 and follows a meandering course through the beautiful Oxfordshire and Warwickshire countryside.

“I have cruised it twice and now I want to walk it.

“St Mary’s, like all hospices, is a wonderful institution devoted to palliative care, making the last days of our loved ones lives as peaceful and comfortable as possible.

“They rely for 80 per cent of their funding from charities.”

He explained that this would combine his love of walking and canals, and that knowing every step was raising money for St Mary’s was a big plus.

So far, he has already raised more than £250. To donate, go to: justgiving.com/fundraising/michael-hopkins-oxfordcanalwalk