Wigan & Leigh Hospice launches its annual Light for a Life appeal this week – and this year, is opening up the remembrance event to families bereaved during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The annual Light for a Life appeal gives local people the opportunity to remember their loved ones by dedicating a light in their memory on a huge Christmas Tree at the front of Wigan and Leigh Hospice in Hindley.
Lindsey Caplan, a counsellor at Wigan and Leigh Hospice, said: “Light for a Life is a very special and meaningful event for people who have lost someone dear to them.
“It has always been an important event for those who have lost someone cared for by the hospice but it is open to anyone who has sadly been bereaved and wants to make a dedication – there does not need to be a connection to the hospice. However, it is important that we vocalise that more powerfully this year and invite anyone who has experienced such sorrow to join us.
“Many people have lost someone this year – both to Covid-19 and other illnesses – and because of restrictions they have not had the opportunity to hold the funeral they would have liked or hold a fitting memorial. By inviting everyone to take part in Light for a Life and dedicate a light to their loved one we hope it brings some comfort.
“Being part of a memorial service means the loss of our loved one is recognised and their life honoured in a unique way. The communal remembrance offers a sacred time and space for family and friends to make their personal tribute to illustrate how important their loved one’s life has been and how much their life mattered.”
Ordinarily, local people are invited to a Light for a Life ceremony at the hospice. However, because it is such a popular event social distancing cannot be guaranteed, and a virtual ceremony will be held instead. Everyone making a dedication will be asked to light a candle at home and watch the service together.
Dr Alan Baron, Chief Executive of the hospice, said: “This is the most special night of the year for the Hospice and we will miss everyone wholeheartedly. However, our main concern is keeping people safe.
“This has been a challenging year for us all. At the hospice Covid-19 impacted upon – and continues to affect – every one of our hospice services. Our nurses, doctors and healthcare assistants have been on the frontline of care, looking after some of the most vulnerable people in our Borough throughout the pandemic, while reducing the burden on the NHS.
“Everyone who makes a Light for a Life dedication will be helping to ensure that vital care continues to be provided for people from Wigan and Leigh who are living with an incurable illness or need end of life care. It is particularly needed at the moment as, while our costs remain the same, our income has dropped significantly because our shops have been shut, fundraising events cancelled and our lottery membership is shrinking as we can no longer go door to door.”
A virtual service will be held online on Tuesday, December 8 at 6.30pm. People are invited to light their own candle at home and watch the service at 6.30pm on the Hospice’s YouTube channel and Facebook page.
Dedications can be made to the hospice’s online night sky at www.wlh.org.uk. You can also call the hospice on 01942 525566 for a dedication form.
Dedications can be made until the twelfth day after Christmas.