CHRISSIE McNeill loved Christmas.

The Pollok great-gran gathered her family around her on Christmas Eve, as daughter Kellyanne Baillie explains.

“It was her favourite time of year,” she says. “We’d all go to my mum’s for 6pm and open our presents, and my mum would stand in the living room beaming down at us all as the carnage unfolded in front of her.

“It was amazing. She spoiled all the kids, and gave us our Christmas Eve jammies, and off we’d go.”

Chrissie died in September, a year after she was diagnosed with a rare vulval cancer.

“Last year she had the treatment and was given the all clear but in May, it came back,” says Kellyanne. “The doctors told us it was very aggressive. My mum was very clear – she did not want to go into hospital.

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“She was determined to stay at home, so me and my sisters decided we would do it ourselves – we’d look after her at home.”

Kellyanne and her sisters, Marie, Christine and Pauline did their mum proud, taking care of her every need with the support of Pollok’s District Nurses, until it became clear they needed extra help.

“The nurses, Morna and Nicole, were absolutely amazing and we will be forever grateful to them,” says Kellyanne, her voice breaking with emotion. “When my mum’s pain was getting too much for her, they suggested we contact the Prince and Princess of Wales Hospice. Right away, Claire from the hospice’s community team just couldn’t do enough for us – she was with us every step of the way.”

Claire Hendry, Community Clinical Nurse Specialist helped the family continue to care for Chrissie in her own home.

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“She organised pain relief, sorted out a prescription delivery service, helped us make a plan of action and called us every week,” says Kellyanne. “It was amazing.”

Chrissie was born and bred in Pollok. Her beloved husband Thomas died suddenly 10 years ago, leaving a huge hole in her life. Family came first for Chrissie, says Kellyanne, proudly. And it was a family of girls – her four daughters, eight granddaughters and three great-granddaughters – until her new little great-grandson came along. Chrissie loved her holidays, and to shop – nearby Silverburn was a home from home – and most of all, she liked a gossip.

“She knew everything about everyone,” says Kellyanne. “I don’t know where the people of Pollok are going to get their gossip from now she’s gone.”

“My gran was very talkative,” agrees Kellyanne’s daughter Kacey, 13. “She always liked to chat. I miss her very much.”

Janette McGarvey, the PPWH’s young person’s development worker, helped Kacey deal with some of the emotions surrounding her gran’s illness.

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“Janette was really good, she talked to me and explained what was happening,” says Kacey. “Sometimes she would just listen and that really helped.”

Despite her illness, Chrissie would not ‘lie down’ to cancer, Kellyanne says.

“It never kept her in, she was out and about all the time,” she says, adding with a laugh: “The week before she died she made us take her to Largs because she felt like a fish supper.

Chrissie died with her daughters by her side.

“When it became clear she did not have long, the four of us moved in with her,” says Kellyanne. “It was surreal – the four of us back at home, sleeping in the same room. It felt like being young again and it was strangely comforting.”

Chrissie’s family are supporting the PPWH’s much-loved annual Light Up A Life ceremony, which is moving online due to current restrictions. This year, the service will be offered virtually to registered attendees on Sunday, December 6 at 3pm.

Everyone will be warmly welcomed by the hospice team to share a service of festive songs and readings. Entry is free but there is a suggested donation of £5 when booking.

If you would like to pay tribute to a special person, you can do this by dedicating a light that will shine brightly on the Christmas tree in the grounds of the hospice, or adding their name to the Glasgow Times Light Up A Life special or order of service at the virtual event. You can also write a message of remembrance for your loved one on one of the Light Up A Life star decoration, which can be hung up at home or on the hospice tree.

Visit the PPWH website for more information.

Rhona Baillie, PPWH chief executive, said: “Our annual Light Up A Life celebration is so important to all those people whose loved ones have died. It is a chance for us all to celebrate their lives and remember them in a special way. To ensure everyone’s health and safety, this year’s celebration is being held virtually. While it will be a different experience, we hope it will be just as special and people will join us from their own homes and we can come together in remembering their loved ones.”

For Chrissie McNeill’s family, Christmas will never be the same again.

“It won’t be the same without her,” says Kellyanne, softly. “But at 6pm on Christmas Eve, we’ll all meet up, same as usual, and open our presents together - because that’s the way she would have wanted it.”