Just under 300 people came from all corners of Herts and Bucks to celebrate and remember those they have loved and lost at a special Light Up a Life ceremony in Berkhamsted.
Families and friends attended the annual service of dedication at The Hospice of St Francis, which included special readings, Christmas carols, poignant live musical performances and the illumination of the Christmas lights on the Tree of Remembrance.
A Tunnel of Remembrance displayed more than 880 stars hanging in brightly lit garlands, with hand-written messages dedicated in memory of someone special.
Mum-of-three Rebecca Parkin, from St Albans, (pictured with her three children) was there with her family to remember and celebrate the life of her husband Matt, 40, who passed away at the Hospice in March of this year. “It was lovely to have the opportunity to come together as a family to take the time to remember and reflect on the huge loss of Matt,” she said.
“This Christmas will be another one of those heart-breaking firsts that the children and I must face but it was special to be able to start the festivities by singing carols and watching the illumination of the Christmas tree lights in a place where Matt and I received so much care and support. The Hospice will always have a very special place in our hearts.”
Sarah Shaw, from Chipperfield, was there with her brother Tony and father Peter, 94, to remember her mum Audrey who died in October 2013. “We’ve been every year since mum passed and it means a lot to us all to have that special reflective time as a family at the Hospice which is very special to us all. Everyone there is united in a shared sense of loss and the service and songs were beautiful.”
The Berkhamsted-based charity helps over 2,000 people a year affected by progressive illness across Herts and Bucks to live their precious lives well, providing free specialist care in its inpatient beds, at home and at its health and wellbeing Spring Centre, including support for their families and carers.
The Hospice would like to thank soloist Rachel Scillitoe, The Hemel Hempstead Brass Band, Ashlyns, Berkhamsted and local schools, Lamps & Tubes Illuminations, David Mann and everyone else who supported the event in any way.
If you would like to dedicate a free star in memory of a loved one or make a donation to the Hospice’s Light Up a Life Appeal to ensure that those affected by progressive illness receive the care and support they need not just at Christmas but all year round, please visit www.stfrancis.org.uk/lual or call 01442 869555.
If you didn’t receive an invitation to this year’s service, but would like to attend next year, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to ask to be added to the Hospice database.