Over 1,400 people gathered at Worcester Cathedral on Friday (14th Nov) to remember their loved ones in the annual St Richardâ€™s Hospice Lights of Love services.
The afternoon and evening Cathedral services were the first of five to be held in the county during the next few weeks.Â They all follow a simple structure with readings, music and a time for quiet reflection. Anyone who has lost a loved one is welcome to remember a loved one by dedicating a light, not just those who have a connection with St Richardâ€™s.
In the region of 400 people attended the afternoon service in the cathedral which featured the choir from Kings Hawford school. More than 1,000 people filled the cathedral for the evening service which included readings and singing by the RGS choir.Â Many of those attending the evening service then walked to the St Richardâ€™s Hospice Christmas Tree in St Andrewâ€™s Spire where the dedicated Lights of Love were switched on.Â The tree lights illuminated the dedicated names of loved ones which are written on boards around the Spire.
The Lights of Love were switched on by Jem Cooke and his family from Worcester who were remembering his father Dennis who had been cared for by St Richardâ€™s. Mr Cooke was joined by his wife Karen, mum Pat and sons Oliver and Jacob.
St Richardâ€™s Hospice Senior Community Fundraiser Alison Parkes said: â€śThe cathedral services and the lighting of the tree are deeply appreciated by many people. It is a very moving experience where people are united by their shared experience of missing someone dear. The services bring great comfort and support, through lighting a candle and taking time to reflect.â€ť
She added, â€śWe have already received more than 2,200 dedicated names and donations for Lights of Love of more than ÂŁ38,000 towards our care of patients and their families. We are extremely grateful to everyone who supports St Richardâ€™s in this way.â€ť
For the first time this year there will also be a Lights of Love service taking place at Pershore Abbey on Thursday, 27th November at 2.30pm.
Lights of Love services will also be held at The Sacred Heart Church, Droitwich on Tuesday, 25th November at 6pm with a choir from Dodderhill School and the St Richardâ€™s Singers.Â There will be a service at The Great Malvern Priory on Tuesday, 2nd December at 6pm which includes a choir from Malvern St James school performing.
The names of loved ones will be displayed on boards surrounding the tree in St Andrew’s Spire, Worcester and in a Books of Thanksgiving placed in Worcester Cathedral, The Priory in Malvern, Pershore Abbey and Droitwich Library throughout December.
Those who donate will also receive a special photo decoration that can be hung on the Christmas tree at home.
If you would like to make a dedication please call the Fundraising Team on 01905 763963.
St Richardâ€™s is grateful to the main event sponsor George Crump & Son Funeral Directors and to Worcester Cathedral, Leigh Sinton Farm & Nurseries and other local businesses for their support.
St Richardâ€™s Hospice provides free specialist palliative care for patients living with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses and supports their families. Each year the hospice team supports over 2,500 patients and family members in Worcestershire.
Patients are cared for in Day Hospice, the 17-bed In-patient Unit or in their own homes by a specialist professional team as well as many trained volunteers.
In the In-patient Unit, specialist staff are on hand 24 hours a day to manage patientsâ€™ symptoms and where, if appropriate, patients may spend the last few days of life in comfort and dignity. St Richardâ€™s is an independent charity and is grateful for all donations to help it to continue its work.