Loved ones re­mem­bered at Light up a Life

Kent Messenger Maidstone - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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