Young family faced their first Christmas without their father

‘All I want is one more hug’: Widow reveals how she and her son, nine, marked Christmas by scattering her late husband’s ashes a year after he died from pancreatic cancer

  • Scott Pavitt was 49 when diagnosed and he died on December 28th 2017
  • His wife Karen, 50 and son Charles, then nine, spent last Christmas in a hospice  
  • A detective in the Metropolitan police force, Cressida Dick attended his funeral 
  • The family scattered his ashes on first anniversary of his death

While most of us sat around the dinner table surrounded by loved ones Karen Pavitt, 50, from Farnborough, spent the 2017 festive season in a hospice holding the hand of her terminally husband, Scott. 

Devastatingly Scott, who was a former detective with the Metropolitan police force, was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer when he was just 49 years old.

While he had gruelling rounds of chemotherapy to extend his life, he didn’t react well to the treatment and feeling like he ‘couldn’t do it anymore,’ he spent his remaining days in a hospice. 

On December 28th 2017 he passed away – leaving behind his heartbroken son Charles, then nine. 

Yesterday marked the first anniversary of Scott’s death and the heartbroken mother and son duo were planning to scatter his ashes. 

Discussing how she is coping now, Karen said: ‘I’m OK. I miss my Scottie so much. Life will never be the same. Charles is very up and down. He wants one more hug from him, as do I.’ 

Scott was a well-respected detective with the Metropolitan police force. Above, the Met’s Commissioner Cressida Dick, Karen, 50, Charles, then nine, and Scott – who was just 49 years old when he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer

By the time he was diagnosed, Scott’s pancreatic cancer was already terminal. After reacting badly to treatment, he decided he ‘couldn’t do it any more’ and spent last  Christmas in a hospice

At Scott’s funeral, Karen and her family were bowled over by the outpouring of love and respect from his fellow colleagues, including Cressida Dick, the Met’s Commissioner. 

‘We spent last Christmas in a hospice,’ said Karen. ‘This year we’ll be scattering my late husband’s ashes. It’s going to be hard, but we want to celebrate him. 

‘He was amazing, he loved his family and his job and he wouldn’t have wanted us to be miserable. Although we met late in life we had 11 years together and they were wonderful.’   

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The devastating diagnosis began back in January 2017, when Scott fell down the stairs at Vauxhall train station. 

‘He was black and blue from the fall and experienced back pain and leg ache,’ explained Karen.

Describing the moment her late husband Scott was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, Karen said she was in ‘complete and utter shock’

‘He was checked out at A&E the day after and all seemed to be OK. Fast forward four months and Scott still had back ache, which he had put down to the fall. 

‘We went off for a family holiday and he just kept taking painkillers. However, the pain got worse. I nagged him to see a doctor as he had lost a little weight too.  

‘In June, he went to see his GP as the pain had become severe and he had diarrhea too, but he was told to take Imodium and given paracetamol.

As the days passed the weight continued to fall off and within a few weeks Scott had lost over a stone.  

‘He went back to his GP who took a stool and blood sample,’ she continued. ‘They both came back clear. Then a week later, he was sent for an MRI scan and took another stool sample, both again came back clear. Another GP then suggested a CAT scan.’

It was then that the family received the devastating news that the back pain wasn’t a symptom of the fall – Scott had pancreatic cancer.   

Scott’s son Charles, then nine (left) and his wife Karen, 50 (right), spent last Christmas in the hospice holding Scott’s hand

‘I was in complete and utter shock when Scott got his diagnosis,’ explained Karen. ‘They said Scott may have 12 to 18 months. He lived for five.’ 

She added: ‘Scott was offered Folfirinox every other Friday – a treatment which he hoped would extend his life, then he had further treatment attached to him that weekend.’

But unfortunately, the former detective was poorly as a result of the treatment, his tumour wasn’t shrinking and he continued to lose a significant amount of weight.

‘He couldn’t even stand and his quality of life was horrific,’ she recalled. ‘The oncologist wanted to try a weaker treatment but Scott had just had enough. It was very hard for him letting our son see him so ill.’

In November 2017, Scott opted to stop treatment and the family decided he would live his last days at a hospice.

‘In a way I felt relief as it took the stress off and allowed me to be his wife again,’ said Karen. ‘But I also felt so much dread as I knew the end was near.’  

She added: ‘Last Christmas was sad, but beautiful. Our son, Charles, and I stayed at the hospice from the day Scott was admitted. Charles and I had our own room. 

Scott was not only a well-respected colleague in the police force, but was also a family man. Karen said: ‘He was the bravest man I’ve ever met, ex-army and a policeman who loved his job, family, friends and life’

‘I decorated Scott’s room with some festive decorations, a small tree and cards. The staff made everything so special, helping with food for Santa and to sneak presents into Scott’s room for Charles.

We chose to have only two friends come to visit and they were both amazing, leaving their families on Christmas day to see us.’

Karen was relieved that Scott’s pain was much more manageable at the hospice, but unfortunately, his days were limited.

‘He died on 28th December, as I held his hand,’ explained the mother-of-one. 

Karen praised the staff at the hospice for making everything ‘special.’ They decorated his room with some festive decorations and helped to sneak presents into Scott’s room for Charles (left)

A popular detective in the anti-corruption department where he worked, Scott’s funeral was flooded with colleagues he called his friends – including Cressida Dick.  

‘He was a very good copper – honest and extremely thorough,’ recalled Karen. ‘No stone was ever left unturned. 

‘He was the most trustworthy person I’ve ever met and very well respected. Cressida Dick came to his funeral, as did many other brilliant colleagues.

Charles was adamant that this Christmas, he wanted to spend it alone with just his mother.

‘It’s so very tough,’ admitted Karen. ‘We’re planning to scatter Scott’s ashes on 28th December, the one-year anniversary of his death. It’s going to be hard, but we want to celebrate him.’

This Christmas, Scott’s son Charles wanted to spend it alone with just his mother, Karen. They scattered his ashes on December 28th, the one-year anniversary of his death

And to anyone else who may be going through the heartache of losing a loved on, Karen said:   

‘When you know your partner is near the end, don’t panic. Just be there, that’s what they need. God only knows what you think about when you’re so near to death, so I know just holding a hand and watching a movie meant so much to Scott.

‘Scott was the bravest man I’ve ever met, ex-army and a policeman who loved his job, family, friends and life.

You will feel cheated, alone, sad, jealous and strangely enough I missed the hospice. But learn that this is your new normal, it’s a hard thing to learn. Once that is clear in your head life is just a tiny bit easier.

Also, let people help you.’ 

Karen is supporting Cancer Research UK’s ‘Right Now’ campaign to beat cancer. For more information visit 



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