Hundreds of people packed into Worcester Cathedral on Friday (11th Nov) to remember and celebrate the lives of their loved ones in the St Richard’s Hospice Lights of Love services.
In the afternoon service, around 400 people heard readings and singing from King’s Hawford School choir and lit candles in remembrance of loved ones.
One thousand people filled the Cathedral for the evening service which was led by the Very Reverend Dr Peter Atkinson, Dean of Worcester and St Richard’s Hospice Chaplain Clare Griffiths with singing from the RGS chamber choir.
Following the evening service hundreds gathered around nearby St Andrew’s Spire to see the switch on of the lights of love on the Christmas tree and the names of their loved ones displayed on boards surrounding the tree. Candles were lit as people reflected and remembered their loved ones.
The tree lights were switched on by Kristina Doran and her family in memory of their mother Magdelena Wagstaff who had been cared for by St Richard’s Hospice.
Mrs Doran said before she switched on the lights: “It would be four years to the day on Christmas Eve that mum passed away at St Richard’s Hospice. The days at home leading up to mum’s death were truly heart-breaking and the most difficult of times. St Richard’s was a sanctuary in what felt like endless suffering. Like most, we hadn’t considered the importance of hospice care until we found ourselves in dire need of it. Like most, I considered hospices to be miserable, depressing places to be. I would never have anticipated the dedication and kindness that embodies St Richard’s Hospice.
“I would never have anticipated that St Richard’s would allow us to laugh, smile and relax and simply enjoy the last moments we had with our mum. It seemed an impossible feat, but amongst all of the anguish somehow we were free from all of the devastation we had felt at home. An inspiring, vital and comfortable place and on behalf of my whole family we would sincerely like to thank St Richard’s for helping us, and more importantly for looking after our mum.”
St Richard’s Hospice Senior Fundraiser Alison Parkes said: “Lights of Love brings comfort and support to many and is close to our hearts. It’s such a special, moving occasion and full of love.”
She added, “Already more than 2,400 names have been dedicated this year and donations of over £33,000 so far towards our hospice care, which is a wonderful amount from our community.”
Lights of Love services will also be held at Sacred Heart Church, Droitwich on Tuesday 22nd November at 6pm with a choir from Dodderhill School. There will be a service at Pershore Abbey on Wednesday, 30th November at 2.15pm with Pershore Abbey Park School and at Great Malvern Priory on Tuesday, 6th
December at 6pm which includes a choir from Malvern St James school performing.
Anyone who has lost a loved one is welcome to dedicate a light and attend the services, not just those who have a connection with St Richard’s.
The names of loved ones will be displayed on boards surrounding the tree in St Andrew's Spire, Worcester and in a Books of Thanksgiving placed in Worcester Cathedral, The Priory in Malvern, Pershore Abbey and Droitwich Library throughout December.
Lights of Love is kindly sponsored by Andrew Grant Sales and Lettings and supported by Open GI, Droitwich Lions, Worcester City Council, Worcester County Council, Leigh Sinton Farm Nurseries for the Christmas tree, and Place Partnership for the tree lights.
If you would like to make a dedication please go online to www.strichards.org.uk/lightsoflove
or call the Fundraising Team on 01905 763963.
Lights of Love events
2.30pm and 6.30pm for 7pm, Worcester Cathedral WR1 2LA
6pm, Sacred Heart Church, Droitwich Spa, WR9 8AZ
, 2.15pm Pershore Abbey, WR10 1DT
6pm Great Malvern Priory, Malvern, WR14 2AY
St Richard’s Hospice provides free specialist palliative care for patients living with life-limiting illnesses and supports their families. Each year the hospice team supports over 2,500 patients and family members in Worcestershire with compassion, kindness, dignity and respect.
Patients are cared for in Day Hospice, the 17-bed In-patient Unit or in their own homes by a specialist professional team as well as many trained volunteers.
In the In-patient Unit, specialist staff are on hand 24 hours a day to manage patients’ symptoms and where, if appropriate, patients may spend the last few days of life in comfort and dignity. St Richard’s is an independent charity and is grateful for all donations to help it to continue its work.
For more information please visit www.strichards.org.uk