10 pictures of Pendleside Hospice's emotional first Memories On The Lake event

Families and friends paid tribute to loved ones as part of a unique event to mark 35 years of Pendleside Hospice.

Hundreds of glowing floating lanterns carrying messages dedicated to people’s loved ones were released in Thompson Park in Burnley during the first ever Memories On The Lake last Saturday.

More than 1,000 people attended the event - the first of many special anniversary days planned for 2023 – and some 200 supporters made their way from the hospice in Reedley to the park in a 5km sponsored memory walk along the canal. A special remembrance service also took place as 600 lanterns floated across the lake.

Sarah Holdsworth, a hospice fundraiser, said: “Our first ever Memories On The Lake was extremely emotional and touching as we saw hundreds of people come together to remember loved ones.

“The weather was on our side and the park was busy, which meant a lot of people found us by chance and decided to light a lantern, which was lovely. The highlight for me was at one point when the bagpiper was playing and the lanterns came into view from across the lake and looked as though they were moving with the music. It was a really moving evening and we hope to do it again next year.”

The event, sponsored by funeral directors Alderson and Horan, included performances from Pendle Community Choir, Trawden String Quartet, Valley Aloud Community Choir and bagpiper Steve Sumner.

A large screen showed loved ones’ pictures and a memory video compiled by the family of Rachel Husband, who died of a brain tumour in 2009 and was cared for by the hospice.

Helen McVey, chief executive, said: “We’d like to say a huge thank you to all those who came out to support our fantastic dedication event. It was incredibly poignant to see people remembering their loved ones and to read all the messages on the lanterns. There was a real sense of togetherness and serenity. I was also delighted to see so many people join us on our sponsored memory walk.”

The event replaced the annual Sunflower Appeal, as part of Pendleside’s special anniversary celebrations, and volunteers and Burnley Leisure staff removed the lanterns from lake afterwards to prevent any harm to the environment or wildlife.