A much-loved Christmas remembrance event has been adapted to ensure that people can come together even when they may be apart, and local families are welcoming this important opportunity to reflect and remember.

Saint Michael’s Light up a Life has been a meaningful part of local Christmas traditions for more than two decades, and the hospice charity has given careful thought as to how they can embrace the meaning of Light up a Life, whilst keeping the community as safe as possible.          

This year, the charity is inviting local people to a virtual event to be streamed online on Sunday 13th December at 5pm and to dedicate a light on the charity’s virtual Christmas tree in memory of someone special.

Chief Executive of Saint Michael’s, Tony Collins, said:

“We warmly invite you – our community – to be part of our very special virtual Light up Life event which you are welcome to join us for at 5pm on Sunday,  by clicking here https://youtu.be/lLl15GWW_xk

“This year has truly been a year like no other and the changes made to our  Light up a Life event reflect that, with the safety and the wellbeing of our community at the heart of our decision making. This year, for the very first time you’ll have the opportunity to see your light shining brightly on our new and beautiful virtual tree. Each light will sparkle in tribute to a special person and will shine throughout the festive season as a symbol of hope and love.”

Harrogate woman Melanie Fuller tells us what Light up a Life and Saint Michael’s Hospice mean to her and her family;

“My Nan and Grandad, Doreen and John Bickers, were always there for me and my brother when we needed them, and I’ll always be grateful for the care and love they showed us. 

“Nan was a driver in the Airforce during WW2. She drove the pilots to their planes – that’s where she learnt to drive. Grandad was a teacher during the war and went on to become a surveyor, surveying rivers and bridges. He was very proud to run with the Olympic torch, not just once in 1948 but twice when he did it again in 2012.

“Saint Michael’s came into our lives when my Nan was in the last stages of her life in early 2009. The staff were so welcoming and accommodating and helped me wrap her up warm in her last days so we could go outside one last time and sit looking at the viaduct. The support offered us as a family was second to none, and this was recognised especially by my Grandad, who was extremely grateful and continued to visit Saint Michael’s on the anniversary of her death, on her birthday, and at Light Up a Life until his own frailty made it too difficult.  

“Light Up A Life was such a comfort to my Grandad, and to us as a family. It gave him a time to remember and reflect, and feel near to her.  Sadly my Grandad passed away this September. As such, it will now be an opportunity for us as a family remember them both. This year’s virtual event will be poignant for us, and we will be tuning in and reflecting on their lives. Our grief has been made a little easier to manage with your compassion and kindness”.

All donations made as part of Light up a Life help Saint Michael’s provide more care for local families this Christmas. To dedicate a light and receive your special memory star, visit www.visufund.com/saint-michaels-hospice call Saint Michael’s on (01423) 878 628 or email supportercare@saintmichaelshospice.org.

Saint Michael’s care is majority funded by the community, and is provided from the charity’s well-known hospice building as well as across the Harrogate district, wherever people call home.

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