Saint Francis Hospice’s Light Up a Life service goes virtual this year

Katharine Ayres with the hospice's Memory Tree. Picture: Saint Francis Hospice

Katharine Ayres with the hospice's Memory Tree. Picture: Saint Francis Hospice - Credit: Archant

Saint Francis Hospice’s direct marketing manager Katharine Ayres explains the different ways to pay tribute to a loved one, especially if you weren’t able to attend the funeral

I joined the hospice two years ago as part of the team responsible for letting our supporters know about our fundraising appeals and how making a regular donation really helps the hospice to plan for the future with more certainty.

When lockdown started towards the end of March we weren’t sure how our appeals would be received during what was and still is such a difficult time for so many. We started an urgent appeal to support our nurses and I’m pleased to say that the local community really got behind us and has shown incredible generosity.

We are truly grateful for how our supporters have helped us to continue to support local families in our care. The restrictions this year, which sadly as we know have included the number of people able to attend funerals, have meant that many have turned to remembering family and friends in different ways.

Our team also looks after supporters who give in memory of their loved ones and we have seen a big rise in people setting up tribute funds – our online tributes where loved ones can be remembered with thoughts, dedications and photographs.

Families and friends find great comfort in these tributes which can form a lasting legacy to the person they have lost.

Our Memory Tree continues to be popular too, with many choosing to dedicate an engraved leaf in tribute on our beautiful tree sculpture which occupies a prime position in the hospice.

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One of the appeals we were initially unsure would go ahead as planned was Light Up A Life – our popular annual Christmas remembrance service.

We’re pleased to say the appeal will still go ahead, although it will look a little different.

Supporters can still remember their loved ones and send in dedications or light a star in our online night sky and although we can’t hold our usual service, we’re going to be holding a virtual service online on Sunday, December 6.

It will be even more poignant this year with all the turmoil everyone has been through and we hope that many local people will be able to join us to remember their loved ones – whether they have received care from our hospice or not.

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