A virtual remembrance service created by a local hospice care charity has been warmly received by the local community.
Harrogate-based Saint Michael’s hospice created the online event in lieu of its traditional Light up a Life service which is usually attended by hundreds of people each year across the Harrogate District, to remember loved ones.
Working with members of the hospice community, staff, supporters and volunteers, the beautiful service was live streamed on Sunday Dec 13. People who had dedicated a light in memory of a loved one immediately took to social media to express their gratitude at being able to take part in the uplifting event from the safety of their own homes.
On Twitter Andrew Stevens said: “Congratulations to all the team at Saint Michael’s who made this evening’s Light up a Life service such a thought-provoking, professional and uplifting experience.”
Simon Cotton said: “I felt very humbled and privileged to be a small part of tonight’s Light up a Life. If you’re needing to find a bit of Christmas spirit, watch it and have a quiet half hour.”
Commenting on Facebook, supporter Pam Thomas said: “Thank you to you all for such a moving tribute to our loved ones who we miss so much. It is such a comfort to us to know that you all care about us and those we love and miss.”
And supporter Bill Caw added: “A beautiful, moving service. Thank you to all at Saint Michael’s. You are wonderful people.”
As well as snapshots of our community in lockdown, the video also showcased local talent from Harrogate Operatic Players and the St Aidan’s Chamber Orchestra and Choir.
Familiar faces from our community joined hospice volunteers, supporters and staff to read an emotional poem, and those who had dedicated a light were also able to see the names and images of loved ones as part of the service. An emotive focal point of the event was, as always, the iconic lighting of the tree in the Hospice grounds at Crimple House.
The video remains available to view at https://youtu.be/oV1-fpJzcXs in the hope that it will bring a point of reflection, comfort and hope to anyone missing a loved one this year.
Chief Executive Tony Collins said: “Light up a Life is always an incredibly special and meaningful occasion, and we know that for many people this year’s event meant, if possible, even more.
“We know too that, in 2020, saying goodbye to loved ones hasn’t always been possible; gathering together at funerals hasn’t been the same, and friends and families have missed so many special moments together.
“We created this year’s Light up a Life to give people a moment of light and hope, whether they watch it alone, or with their family bubble.
“It is also a chance to celebrate our extraordinary community and the ways, together, we have responded to the challenges we have faced in 2020.
“Love, hope and light characterise this year’s event, and we hope as many people as possible will watch to make memories shine on and look forward, together, to brighter days ahead.
For the first time, the charity also created a virtual tree, to allow people the chance to dedicate a special light, and leave messages in pictures in tribute to loved ones.
There is still time to make your dedication at https://visufund.com/saint-michaels-hospice as the virtual tree and lights will continue to shine throughout the festive period until the new year.
You can watch the event: