6 March 2018

Every girl wants to look and feel like a princess on their prom. But Jessica Dallow’s lovely dad, Tom, made her feel like a princess every day.

Tom loved his girls Jessica and Sophie to bits.

“Cook my breakfast, dad!” Jessica, would say and her wish was his command.

“We would go to the garage for an ice cream, or spend days together at Barry Island,” she remembers.

“I miss him very much.”

A moment that we never thought we would have

Jessica, Sophie and their mum Angela had been eagerly looking forward to a family holiday to Disney World, which Tom had begun planning well in advance to celebrate the Dallow’s silver wedding anniversary.

a cushion with the Dallow family's names embroidered on it

And that wasn’t the only big celebration on the horizon. Jessica was just about to graduate from Barrs Court School in Hereford and the family was buzzing with excitement about her prom, set to take place in July 2013.

Jessica, then 19, had already picked out her beautiful prom dress, a stunning ball gown in royal purple, adorned with a galaxy of sparkles.

Twirling in front of the mirror, she looked every inch the princess.

In May, with just a couple of months to go before before Jessica’s prom, Tom was feeling poorly. He visited the doctor about a pain in his stomach.

Tom was sent straight to hospital. The next few shocking days were a blur, after doctors broke the news that he was going to die.

“My whole life turned upside down – everything just went bang,” says Jessica’s mum Angela.

Within days, Tom was admitted to St Michael’s Hospice in Hereford.

St Michael's hospice logo

The whole family was welcomed, as the caring staff at St Michael’s made Tom feel comfortable and helped him to relax. What he wanted most of all, he told them, was to be there for Jessica on her prom.

Now, his wish was their command.

Tom only had a short time left, so hospice arranged to bring Jessica’s prom forward and hold it at St Michael’s. Invitations were sent to family, and friends and staff from Barrs Court School.

The St Michael’s catering team made a special celebration cake laid on a feast of party food.

pretty cupcakes

Balloons? Check.

Music. Cued.

Guests. Assembled.

And then Jessica made her entrance.

Tears came to Tom’s eyes.

His princess.

She looked beautiful.

Cropped photo of Jessica in her prom dress

“It was a moment that we never thought we would have, seeing Jessica make an amazing entrance in her prom dress,” says Angela.

“It meant so much to the family. You could see Tom was so proud.”

Tom died shortly after Jessica’s unforgettable evening.

“Having the memory of Jessica’s prom night is very special for us all,” says Angela.

Jessica thinks of her dad every day. She says her beautiful ball gown is something she will always treasure, along with happy memories of the best dad in the world.

“It reminds me of him smiling and telling me how beautiful I looked,” she smiles.

“Thanks to St Michael’s, my dad enjoyed my prom.”

  • St Michael’s Hospice is a special place that supports people with a terminal illness and their families. Discover more about how it helps families to make happy memories together, at www.st-michaels-hospice.org.uk.