Families remember their loved ones at virtual Light Up A Life service

Pendleside Hospice's annual Light Up A Life service – this year a virtual online event – featured families talking about how they had turned to the hospice after the death of a loved one.
Piper Steve Sumner plays as the lights are switched onPiper Steve Sumner plays as the lights are switched on
Piper Steve Sumner plays as the lights are switched on

Usually, up to 1,000 people attend the open-air service at the hospice to remember those no longer with us, and for the Christmas Lights switch on, but a virtual service had to be held this year because of the Covid-19 restrictions.

Deborah Wilkinson was one of several stories of families who have benefited from Pendleside when the service was streamed on the hospice’s Facebook page.

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Viewers heard how Deborah was cared for when her husband Peter died unexpectedly.

Deborah Wilkinson with her husband PeterDeborah Wilkinson with her husband Peter
Deborah Wilkinson with her husband Peter

She said: “It was comforting to be amongst others who instantly understood how I felt having also lost the people most dear to them. At the hospice I could share fond memories in a safe and friendly environment, without judgment or awkwardness as we were all in the same situation.”

Pendleside’s chairman of trustees David Brown welcomed the viewers, and during the celebration Basics Junior Theatre sang while the poem ‘If I Could’ was read by staff nurse, Helen Thomson.

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Soprano Grace O’Malley performed ‘The Prayer’ and ‘Time To Say Goodbye' while Pendleside ambassador Josh Hindle sang ‘Tears in Heaven’.

The pair also led the carols ‘O, Little Town of Bethlehem’ and ‘Away In A Manger’.

The reflection was conducted by Julia O’Neill, day services, family support and outpatients manager. A closing thanks was given by chief executive Helen McVey and piper Steve Sumner ended the service.

The event, sponsored by Alderson and Horan Funeral Services, was videoed by Clockwork Eye and is now available to view on Facebook, YouTube and the hospice’s website. It is expected Light Up A Life will again raise more than £100,000 for the hospice.

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Sammi Graham, head of events and fundraising, said: “The Light Up A Life service allows people to come together and remember family and friends who have passed away. Thousands of dedicated lights will now shine vibrantly around the outside of the hospice all throughout Christmas and the New Year.

“People can still make donations and include their loved ones in the book of remembrance through to the end of January.”

Anyone who would still like to make a donation can do so at www.pendleside.org.uk or by ringing 01282 440120.