The community of Winchester came together to remember and celebrate their lost loved ones during Winchester Hospice’s first Light up a Life event.
More than 150 people, including the Mayor of Winchester, Cllr Eleanor Bell, attended the event, which took place at Royal Hampshire County Hospital in Winchester and brought together people who have experienced bereavement.
As well as singing carols and listening to readings, attendees dedicated lights on a Christmas tree to the life and memory of a loved one. The tree was then switched on by Michael Bridge, an ambassador of Winchester Hospice.
Seeing people with similar experiences come together to reflect and celebrate someone they love made it a really touching evening.
I was honoured to be the person to turn on the lights, it represents a lot to so many people and I hope that as a community we continue to support each other – and Winchester Hospice.
Dedications were also added to a special book, which is now in the hospital chapel.
As well as providing members of the local community with a way to reflect on the year, the event also raised more than £2,000. This will go towards converting Burrell House into Winchester Hospice, a place where patients at the end of their lives or living with a long term illness will receive specialist care.
The builders are now on-site and preparations are being made for work to begin in January 2020, but the appeal needs to raise a further £1million while the work is underway to reach the target needed to fund the work and to ensure the hospice can open.
Judith Charmer, from the Winchester Hospice fundraising team, said:
I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who came along and supported our first Light up a Life event and made it such an unforgettable evening, and the entire community who have supported us in 2019.
Next year looks to be an exciting year for Winchester Hospice as we get closer to opening the doors and being able to care for those at the end of their lives and supporting their families. We wouldn’t have got this far without the tremendous support of the local community, and I hope you will help us on our journey in 2020 so that we can be there for our community for years to come.
To donate, or find out how else to get involved, visit winchesterhospice.com.
Photo: Members of HHFT and Winchester Hospice at the event. L-R: Nick Vaughan WH fundraising charity chairman, HHFT chief executive Alex Whitfield, HHFT Chairman Steve Erskine, Mayor of Winchester, Cllr Eleanor Bell, HHFT palliative care matron Maddy Thomson, HHFT chaplain Rev Christine Whitehead, HHFT chief medical officer and palliative care consultant Dr Lara Alloway, Michael Bridge and HHFT palliative care consultant Dr Stephanie Killick.