Light Up A Life at St Catherine’s this Christmas
A poignant appeal which remembers loved ones who have died returns to St Catherine’s Hospice this Christmas and is set to be extra special as the charity’s year of 30th anniversary commemorations draws to a close.
Light Up A Life is one of the hospice’s most precious and meaningful events, set up soon after St Catherine’s opened its doors in 1985.
It offers the chance to remember those who have died with a light in the beautiful grounds of St Catherine’s Park. They shine out brightly over Christmas and into the new year, as a symbol of the warmth and love of those people being remembered.
Dedications are welcome in memory of anyone, not only those who have experienced the specialised care of St Catherine’s over the past 30 years.
The money raised through tributes is used to support the hospice’s services for local people in Central Lancashire who are facing life-shortening conditions such as cancer, motor neurone disease, heart failure and Parkinson’s disease. It costs around £5m to run St Catherine’s each year, with only £1.3m contributed to by the NHS. Throughout their 30th year the charity has been running the Give A Gift campaign with the Lancashire Evening Post and the Guardian, which centres on 30 different things they would like to achieve with their community’s help during 2015.
Karen Gahagan has remembered her mum Marjorie and sister Christine Watson through Light Up A Life for the past 10 years.
Karen, who has also given her time to volunteer in various roles at the hospice and continues to volunteer at fundraising events, said: “The first year we did it was for my mum and Christine was there with me – she loved Light Up A Life, she thought it was magical.
“It was hard because at that point we knew she too had cancer, and sadly by the time the following year came around we were lighting a light for Christine too. It’s certainly the most special hospice event of the year to me and I know lots of people who feel the same. For some it can be a very raw experience, they might have only lost someone quite recently. But everyone is there together when the lights are switched on for the same reason and you know you are not alone in how you are feeling.
“Christmas is a time for family and for memories, and I think that’s also why Light Up A Life feels so poignant – it’s important that even if those special people can’t be with us to join in the celebrations, it doesn’t mean they’re not in our thoughts.”
This year’s switch-on takes place on Tuesday December 1st from 5.30pm. The special Light Up A Life book featuring the names of those remembered will be on display, and the lights will be switched on at 6.30pm following a short dedication service.
The nearby cafe The Mill will also be open late that night until 8pm serving hot pot suppers, giving the chance for people to enjoy a meal together before or after the switch-on.
Karen, a receptionist at Progress Housing who lives in Leyland, added: “Both my mum and my sister received wonderful care at St Catherine’s. They gave my mum a dignified death which is so important, and they supported Christine and our family in so many different ways throughout her journey. The care she got from the Clinical Nurse Specialist team allowed her to stay in her own home for much longer, and she really enjoyed going to day therapy at the hospice each week. We felt safer knowing St Catherine’s were there, and the support we received made such a difficult experience that much easier.
“Light Up A Life is a way to remember what special people my mum and sister were, at the same time as contributing towards a charity which makes a difference to people when they really need it.”
To make a dedication in Light Up A Life click here or call 01772 629171. Dedications are welcome throughout November and December, although if you would like to see the name of your loved one in the book at the switch-on event the hospice requires your dedication by Friday November 27 to ensure it can be added in time. Pre-bookings for The Mill are recommended – to reserve a table call 01772 695277 or email email@example.com.
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