Ashgate Hospicecare are inviting the local community to dedicate a star in memory of their loved ones this Christmas and join them in an online celebration.
This year, due to ongoing COVID-19 guidelines, the charity will bring their local community together in a virtual Light Up a Life celebration on Sunday 13th December.
Details on how to join the virtual ceremony will be mailed out after the online star dedication and donation has been made. The mailing will also include an order of service, a dedication card and this year’s Light up a Life pin badge.
Light Up a Life is an annual event to remember lost loved ones, while supporting the hospice and those dealing with grief. The event is open to anyone, not just people whose loved one was cared for by the hospice.
In previous years, the community would gather at Ashgate Hospicecare but this year they will be able to join a virtual celebration which includes carol singing, personal stories from those remembering someone special, and reflections from hospice Chaplain, Siobhan Hoyes.
‘I don’t know what I’d have done without the support of Ashgate’
Georgie Hodgson and her sons, Tom and Eddie, will be dedicating a star in memory of husband and father, John, who sadly died just three weeks after learning his cancer was terminal.
In the beginning, Georgie cared for her husband at home with the support of Amanda, a specialist nurse from Ashgate Hospicecare.
Georgie said: “With the help of Ashgate I knew we were not alone; Amanda would always listen to John’s needs and she ensured that there was always a flow of help. She even organised all the equipment John needed and liaised with our GP.
“Three weeks before John died, we decided to have his transferred to the hospice. During his time there, he and my family wanted for nothing. We were surrounded by love and care, which didn’t stop after John died.”
Following John’s death, Georgie was invited to join an Ashgate Hospicecare counselling group for bereaved partners.
She said: “I was nervous about going, but the boys saw the letter on the side and persuaded me to try it, at least for one session. I felt like I was pulled through it emotionally in that first session, but I knew it was doing me good and so I continued to go.
“I’ve since made a lot of good friends from the group. Even though we’re no longer meeting at the hospice, we’ve kept in touch and supported each other, especially during lockdown.
“My boys have been brilliant, but it’s very hard for anyone to understand exactly what it’s like to lose your partner unless you’ve been through it. We were married for 35 years; it’s a lifetime. So, being part of that group and knowing that others were also experiencing similar things was comforting.
“I don’t know what I’d have done without them and the support from Ashgate Hospicecare.”
‘Light Up a Life is more important than ever’
The Light Up a Life appeal is also aiming to raise much needed funds for the hospice who are reporting £2.4 million in lost revenue due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Jack Wood, Individual Giving Manager at Ashgate Hospicecare, said: “As most people will know, this year has been very difficult for the hospice as we have lost income from our shops due to them being forced to close, and from fundraising events that have had to be cancelled or moved online.
“At the same time, we have adapted to provide safe care to patients with and without COVID-19 and are seeing a rise in demand across all our services.
“Therefore, every donation to our Light up a Life appeal will help us continue to provide our specialist, compassionate care to patients and their families across North Derbyshire.
“Just £25 could help to ensure that a bereaved person receives one-to-one, tailored support through a phone call during the pandemic.
“Furthermore, £50 could pay towards a socially distanced bereavement support group session. This gives those who are grieving the chance to form invaluable friendships and receive support to cope during this isolating time.”
Appointments available to see the hospice lights
Supporters and residents will have the opportunity to visit the lights at the hospice on an appointment basis, from Monday 7th December onwards.
However, appointments will only go ahead if restrictions are eased and it is safe to do so. This will be reviewed regularly.
To dedicate a star to your loved one and to join in the virtual ceremony, go to: www.lightupalife.ashgatehospicecare.org.uk
For more information and to book an appointment to see the hospice lights, contact the fundraising department on 01246 567250 or email email@example.com