An "absolute gem" who raised a stunning £17,000 for the hospice who took care of his dying wife said he was proud of what turned out to be an emotional night.

Nick Diamond, from Orpington, lost his wife Linda to stage four cancer in February of last year when she was just 57.

Linda’s wish was to have end of life care from the comfort of her own home, and the team at St Christopher’s Hospice made a lasting impression.

Nick decided to hold a 'Diamond Ball' to raise money for St Christopher’s and he invited eight of its staff to enjoy the night as VIPs.

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Remembering his dear wife, Nick told News Shopper: "After she passed away every message said Linda was beautiful inside and out.

"She was a very lively and vibrant person and lit up any room she walked into. Linda was very giving and generous and always thought of other people before herself."

Nick added: "She was just wonderful and didn’t have a bad word to say about anybody; she was quite a special person."

The loving husband said he had fun on the night but said it was even more emotional than he expected, with a lot of people in the room having knew Linda.

Nick articulated just how caring the team at St Christopher’s Hospice were for his wife.

"From the first minute we engaged with them right until Linda passed, they were always there for everything we needed.

"The most special was how calm and professional they were and how they say and do the right thing at the right time."

An example Nick gave was how compassionate staff were on home visits.

"They used to care for Linda at home, but they had pampering sessions. They would rub cream into her arms and legs, and it was a special moment because Linda felt pampered instead of being cared for."

Nick added that his ambition was to raise money for the hospice but said he also wanted to give staff a memorable night and to say thank you in person.

Fiona Heath, community fundraiser at St Christopher’s and VIP guest, said: "We had a fantastic time at the Diamond Ball. It was a huge success and we were so flattered that Nick invited us along to celebrate Linda’s life.

"£17,000 is a huge amount of money to raise and will help us to keep supporting other people like Linda. Nick is an absolute gem."

The ball was held on March 23 at The Warren in Hayes – the date of his wife’s birthday.

An auction included a week's stay on a private Caribbean island and Nick's friends surprised him with an impromptu performance from an opera singer.

"People enjoyed the ball so much and they are asking me to make it an annual event," Nick concluded.

"There seems to be a huge demand for next year so watch this space for the next ‘Diamond Ball'."