Over 400 people gathered around the Peace Hospice Care Christmas tree in Watford to remember loved ones in an emotional Lights of Love ceremony on Wednesday (4th December).
For the first time ever, the popular event was held outside Watford Central Library, to allow extra room for the expected large gathering that increases every year.
The tree lights were switched on by Jess Hall, 26, in memory of her father, Les. Their family turned to Peace Hospice Care when Les was seriously ill and Jess said that the Hospice 'brought shelter in the middle of a massive storm,' and added, 'that's why the charity is so important and why it's so important that other people support it.'
Designed for the whole community, the ceremony included carols and readings and the opportunity for guests to dedicate a light in memory of their loved one and to send a message of dedication. The event was supported by Grimsdyke Brass Band, Radlett Choral Society, Gristwood and Toms and Watford Borough Council. Seasonal refreshments were served in the Town Hall's Council Chambers following the ceremony.
Each year Peace Hospice Care needs £5m to run its services and the Lights of Love Appeal is a really important part of the fundraising calendar. All funds raised help to cater for the sharp rise in patients accessing the Starlight rehabilitation and wellbeing services and help to support more people in their homes.
The Watford ceremony followed on from a ceremony at Borehamwood on Wednesday 25 November which also saw increased crowds. There will be another Lights of Love ceremony at Potters Bar on Sunday (December 6) starting at 7pm outside the Elm Court Youth and Community Centre.
Peace Hospice Care's Director of Fundraising, Ropinder Gill, said 'We care for many patients and their families across our community and this event is an important part of our year. This Christmas we are asking everyone in the community to support the Hospice in their festive fundraising events or perhaps make a donation in memory of a loved one. Please remember Peace Hospice Care. This Christmas many people in the community will be relying on hospice support and we, in turn, rely on your support.'
'We thank all the sponsors for their donations and we thank all of the volunteers for their support. We also thank the community for continuing to fundraise for Peace Hospice Care so we can offer support to patients with life limiting illnesses and their families in the years ahead.'
This December, on average nearly 300 visits will be made to the Starlight Centre, and there will be over 200 visits to patients at home.
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