Loved ones remembered at Light up a Life
Families facing their first Christmas after the loss of a loved one gathered together at the weekend.
Heart of Kent Hospice hosted its Light up a Life Service at its Preston Hall base on Sunday.
The annual event brings together families and staff who may have used the Aylesford hospice in the past year.
More than 250 people attended the hour long service, enjoying choir performances from the Maidstone Singers and children from West Malling Church of England Primary School.
This weekend a second Light up a Life service will take place at Aylesford Priory.
Sophie Lewis works in the hospice’s fundraising department.
She said: “We find the more recently bereaved come to to the hospice service because they have that connection, it’s somewhere they like to come back.
“All of the attendees dedicated stars for loved ones with messages. They will all be dedicated again at Aylesford Priory and then placed on a Christmas tree at the hospice.”
Hospice chaplain Priscilla Payne led the service while there were also readings from hospice staff, including Kerry Harrison, director of patient services.
Heart of Kent Hospice has a number of events on in the build up to Christmas.
This Friday The Hengist of Aylesford will see carol performance and the town’s Christmas lights turned on, from 5.30pm.
On Sunday, during the West Malling Christmas light switch on, Aylesford Priory will hold the second Light up a Life Service.
Around 400 people are expected to attend the event.
Find out more about the Light up a Light service at tinyurl.com/ hokhlight. Maidstone pupils were VIP guests at a reception at Leeds Castle last week.
Children from Archbishop Courtenay, Valley Invicta, Kingswood and West Borough primary schools attended a reception at the castle for winners of green travel and literacy competitions.
They were presented with framed certificates and free-entry tickets to the castle or Wildwood animal park near Herne Bay.
Archbishop Courtenay’s Nightingales class and Valley Invicta’s Jay class won October interschool challenges with walk-toschool scheme Super Wow.
Kingswood’s Chestnut class and West Borough’s Sycamore class won competitions with reading-reward initiative Buster’s Book Club.
Both schemes are run by the KM Charity Team. Participating classes compete for Class of the Week trophies, and winners of monthly inter-school challenges are rewarded with tickets to leisure attractions or visits by celebrity storytellers.
The initiatives are supported by organisations including Orbit, Countrystyle Recycling, Golding Vision (part of Golding Homes), Specsavers, Leeds Castle and Kent and Maidstone councils.
KM Charity Team chief executive Simon Dolby said: “Many congratulations to the children picking up their certificates and tickets today.
“They have worked incredibly hard and fully deserve their rewards, and I am confident their schools will notice the benefits in terms of improved literacy standards and child health and well-being.”
To find out more, visit bustersbookclub.co.uk or kmwalktoschool.co.uk.