£20k raised by family of dad who died from rare cancer

Tom Bruce with his beloved campervan Velma. Picture courtesy of Ana Rocha
Tom Bruce with his beloved campervan Velma. Picture courtesy of Ana Rocha
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Wife fulfils one of her husband’s last wishes to raise funds for Roxburghe House in Aberdeen

Family and friends of a North East oilman who died aged just 43 from a rare form of cancer have raised more than £20,000 in his memory.

Tom Bruce with his wife Patricia, son Daniel, now 16 months, and daughter Melanie, now eight.

Tom Bruce with his wife Patricia, son Daniel, now 16 months, and daughter Melanie, now eight.

Tom Bruce died on August 3, less than two years after being diagnosed with PMP. a cancer which starts in the appendix and spreads to the intestines.

Mr Bruce was the father of two young children, daughter Melanie, eight, and baby Daniel, who is just 16-months old.

His wife Patricia, 38, was 18 weeks pregnant with the couple’s son when they learned of the devastating diagnosis in November 2013.

Mrs Bruce said it was one of her husband’s last wishes that she raise money for Roxburghe House in Aberdeen, the hospice where her husband had been admitted and released three times as he fought his cruel illness.

Mr Bruce, a passionate drummer, Simple Minds fan and VW campervan enthusiast, died peacefully with his wife by his side on his fourth stay.

The family have long been involved in charity work and have raised thousands for good causes.

Mrs Bruce said she was so in awe of the work done at Roxburghe House to help her husband and her family that she had to do something to help, with donations since pouring in.

She said: “Tom told me before he died that he hadn’t fulfilled his wish list but that he wanted to change it a bit. He said he wanted me to do something for Roxburghe House. He didn’t need to ask me.

“I absolutely love them all there. To me these people are like angels who are sent to help the folk who need them.

“They give you support as a family, not just for the patient. It doesn’t look like a hospital, it doesn’t feel like you are in a hospital and all the rooms back onto the most beautiful garden.

“That garden came to be like a sanctuary to us, it is so peaceful, and Tom could open the door to his room and sit there and watch the children play.”

Mrs Bruce said on one occasion her husband had been given just days to live after being admitted to hospital with an infection but that he walked out of Roxburghe House a week later after she pushed for him to be taken there.

Mrs Bruce said: “People were worried for Tom when I told them he was going to Roxburghe House because people think it is a place where you die. But it is also a place where they give you a chance to live.”

Mrs Bruce met then husband-to-be in 1999 when he travelled to Macae, Brazil - her hometown - to join the oil company where she worked. The couple also lived in Egypt and the United States, before settling in the north east of Scotland.

Mr Bruce, who latterly worked for Rowan Drilling, is originally from Torry in Aberdeen.

He was laid to rest after being driven to Aberdeen Crematorium in the back of his VW Campervan - called Velma - by his best friend, John Swingler, who travelled back from Brazil when Mr Bruce started to rapidly deteriorate.

Mrs Bruce added: “I had 15 amazing years with Tom. We were used to him being a way a lot with work but it is very difficult now. He has been away too long and we know he is not coming back.”

She has kept the garage at the family home just as he had left it, with his drumkit in the corner - and his campervan proudly on show.