A POIGNIANT dedication service has helped to make life a little brighter for hundreds of people remembering their lost loved ones this Christmas.
Dozens of people gathered in Central Hall, Darlington, as St Teresa’s Hospice held its annual Light up a Life Service.
The event, which has been hosted by the hospice for over 20 years, invites people to dedicate a light on the charity’s Christmas trees in memory of lost loved ones, family members and friends.
Hospice chief executive Jane Bradshaw said: “St Teresa’s Light up a Life Service is for everyone, not just for those who have been supported by St Teresa’s.
“Anyone can sponsor a light on the tree to remember someone special in return for a donation to the hospice.
“Light up a Life gives people the opportunity to reflect and honour the memory of their loved ones, especially at this time of year, while also helping the hospice raise vital funds to enable us to continue caring for people in the local community when they need us the most.”
Over 600 Christmas lights were switched on at the service in memory of people all over the world, from as far away as France, America and Australia.
The service, led by Mrs Bradshaw and head of care Alison Marshall, included readings by chairman of St Teresa’s Hospice Board of Trustees Dr Harry Byrne, general office manager Lynne Wright and honorary life member of The Darlington and District Hospice Movement Ian Whitfield.
The Hurworth Concert band accompanied the service with carols Away in a Manger, Silent Night and Hark the Herald Angels Sing.
Ann Buchan, 68, of Darlington, her son Jonathan and granddaughter Abigail, dedicated a light to her husband who passed away in May after being cared for at the hospice.
“Everyone at St Teresa’s Hospice was amazing,” she said. “They really couldn’t have done any more.
“Not only did they look after my husband they also looked after me and my family and are still continuing to support me through their bereavement counselling service.
“This is a wonderful event, especially at this time of year when it really brings it home that someone is missing.
“It is so lovely that we can all come together at Christmas and remember all our loved ones.”