Family and friends come together to remember loved ones
Families from across Devon are coming together in a series of church services to remember loved ones who have died.
“Christmas can be an emotional time for those missing loved ones,” said Sarah Smith from Hospiscare, a charity that provides end-of-life care in Exeter, Mid and East Devon.
The Hospiscare Light Up a Life services take place throughout Exeter, Mid and East Devon in November and December, offering family and friends the opportunity to come together and remember those who are no longer with us, with carols, poems and candles.
The final service will be in at Exeter Cathedral on Sunday, December 16 at 6.30pm.
Just outside the cathedral is the Hospiscare Christmas tree, swathed in lights that are lit at dusk every evening until Twelfth Night.
Hospiscare supporters are being invited to honour their loved ones by making a dedication, which is inscribed in the Hospiscare Book of Memories, which will be at each service.
Alternatively, a “memory star” can be shared online, also allowing friends and family to remember someone special.
Each year, Hospiscare provides free, specialist care and support for more than 2,500 adults with life-limiting illnesses and their families in Exeter, Mid and East Devon.
Anna Bowen and her children, Martha and Jessie were supported by Hospiscare after her husband Geoff died with a brain tumour.
She said: “No one ever hopes to find themselves in the position that we as a family did when Geoff was diagnosed with a brain tumour, but we will be for ever grateful to all the amazing staff at Hospiscare for allowing the four of us to live, eat, sleep and just be together in those last few precious days and nights.
“Geoff received exceptional and sensitive care to the very end, and we were given space and privacy in the lovely calm family room. We can never thank Hospiscare enough.”
Sarah Smith, from Hospiscare, said: “Our Light Up a Life services are a beautiful way to remember someone special as Christmas approaches, and everyone is welcome. Hospiscare is very much part of the community and these services are a chance for those communities to gather and support one another, they offer not only the opportunity to reflect but also to celebrate the life of a loved one.”
The Bowern family on holiday before Geoff Bowern died and (far left) the Hospiscare Light Up a Life Tree outside Exeter Cathedral