A Knaresborough family has shared the poignancy and comfort of returning to Harrogate-based Saint Michael’s Hospice to grieve as part of its special remembrance events.

Tim Gill was cared for by Saint Michael’s from October 2018 to January 2019 after his Kidney Cancer progressed and he lost the use of his legs.

A lover of nature and the outdoors, he took refuge in the hospice’s peaceful grounds in Hornbeam Park with views over the Crimple Valley.

Tim’s daughter, Sam Gill said:

“The care Dad and our family received at Saint Michael’s could not have been more perfect.

“What was absolutely priceless was feeling that Dad’s and our individual wishes were respected.

“Dad could be exactly who he wanted to be thanks to their wonderfully personal approach.”

Sam and family have recently shared what returning to the hospice’s grounds for Saint Michael’s Light up a Life remembrance event meant to them, as the charity prepares to host this year’s services.

She said:

“In the December after Dad died, our family came to Saint Michael’s Light up a Life service.

“It’s a happy place where we feel comfortable remembering Dad. Coming together with other families in a similar position made us feel it was OK to be vulnerable and grieve.

“While our emotions were raw, it was really comforting and such a meaningful experience.”

Last year, the charity’s annual Light up a Life proceedings were hosted exclusively online due to Covid-19 restrictions.

This year, Saint Michael’s will welcome its community back to Crimple House, as well as other locations across the district to provide a special opportunity to remember loved ones, bringing love, comfort and hope to families living with terminal illness and bereavement. 

Volunteers at Saint Michaels Hospice.

Community events will take place at St Cuthbert’s Church in Pateley Bridge on Friday November 26th at 7pm, at Ripon Cathedral on Sunday December 5th at 3.30pm, and in the hospice’s grounds on Sunday December 12th at 4pm.

There will also be a virtual service online on Sunday December 12th at 6.30pm.

All events will feature readings and live music, as well as the memorable moment when the trees are illuminated – each light dedicated to the memory of someone special.

Tony Collins, Saint Michael’s Chief Executive said:

“We are looking forward to the return of a virtual service on December 12 and are pleased to be able to gather safely with members of our community in-person once again, if the time is right for them.

“We know how much Light up a Life means to the families we’ve cared for and our wider community, and it means so much to us too. We are touched to read the beautiful dedications made – each one unique and meaningful.

“The donations we receive allow us to give the gift of care to those living with terminal illness and bereavement.”

Alongside the services, which have been a much-loved Christmas tradition for many in the Harrogate district for more than twenty years, Saint Michael’s is sharing how those who are experiencing bereavement, anxiety, low mood or loneliness can find support through it’s Just ‘B’ bereavement and emotional wellbeing service. 

Tony said:

“After another challenging year of the pandemic, we want to let our community know that we are here for them.

“We understand the winter months can be difficult emotionally, especially if living with bereavement or anxiety, and we want to do all we can to support people in whatever way is right for them. 

“Our expert Just ‘B’ team will be sharing comforting reflections during the Light up a Life services, and are available to speak to anyone feeling anxious or lonely via their Hear to Help helpline every day, from 8am to 8pm, on (01423) 856 799.”

To find out more about Saint Michael’s Light up a Life services, including how to dedicate a light and tickets for its Ripon Cathedral service, visit bit.ly/SaintMichaelsLightUpALife or call (01423) 878 628. 

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