A dying man had a surprise visit from a very special visitor to North Devon Hospice.When Patrick Saunders told the nurses on the bedded unit at the hospice about his love of horses, they decided to arrange for one to visit him there.Cathy Whattingham, one of the nurses caring for Patrick, said: His passion for horses was so clear and theyd obviously played a big part in his life. We happen to be next door to the North Devon Equine Rescue Centre, so we thought wed see if they might be able to bring a horse to the hospice to visit Patrick. One phone call later and there was a beautiful brown stallion stood outside the front door of the hospice. Patrick was not well enough to get out of bed to see the horse, but the nurses wheeled his bed into the courtyard so he could meet his special visitor close up. It was Patricks father, Victor, who gave him his love of all things equine, having worked with horse in the First World War. In a twist of fate, the name of the horse that came to visit him at the hospice was also Victor. The experience came as a real surprise to Patricks daughter, Jayne, who had come to visit her dad, and arrived to see him stroking the gentle animal outside the hospice. I simply didnt expect him to have an experience like that at the hospice, she said. Hed actually had a couple of bad days and wasnt himself at all, but he was absolutely full of beans when I arrived and you could see the joy on his face from being able to interact with such a gorgeous animal. Patrick had been around horses his whole life he taught his wife of 66 years, Wendy, to ride when she was just 15-years-old. Cathy added: Ill never forget Patricks smile when he was stroking that horses face. You could see they had real connection and it is experiences like that which make hospice care so special. Patrick died at the hospice just three days after the visit. But Jayne said his final days had been brightened no end by his visit from Victor the horse. She added: When they told me that a horse was coming to visit Dad, I thought that maybe he would be able to see the animal from his balcony. I had no idea he would be able to get so close. But thats what the hospice is all about, going above and beyond. People can be fearful of the word hospice, unless you know better, like we do now. I now see North Devon Hospice as a really positive place where we were all so well looked after. Its something Ill never forget. For more information about the care and support provided by the hospice, please visit www.northdevonhospice.org.uk.