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Arthur Rank Hospice Charity welcomed 300 people outside its Shelford Bottom home, at 5pm on Sunday 5 December for Light up a Life, sponsored by Peasgood and Skeates. The special annual event is an important opportunity for family members, friends, patients, volunteers, colleagues and supporters to gather together whilst remembering those they love.
Responding to the current circumstances of the pandemic, the Charity this year offers a hybrid version of Light up a Life: the evening was recorded live as it unfolded and can also now be watched at arhc.org.uk/LUALfilm. Having a film version, free to watch at any time and in any location, opens Light up a Life to the whole community: people of any faith or no faith, those who were unable to attend that evening or who may be confined to their homes, are warmly welcomed, no matter whether they have experienced the Charity’s services.
This year’s evening focused on love and how its light guides us through the darkness and grief. Sharon Allen, CEO, welcomes guests to the Hospice’s car park saying:
“Love, and the joy of love, is what causes pain and grief when those we love have died. And is it love that brings us together in our circle of support as we share in our memories.”
The service, led by Chaplain Keith Morrison, includes beautiful poems, songs, readings and music, and – after the twinkling lights adorning the magnificent Christmas tree are turned on – a poignant moment of silence to remember loved ones.
Many of those who were attending or will watch the event, are likely to have experienced Keith’s support or that of the Patient and Family Support Team. As well as spiritual care, the team offers social, psychological and bereavement support.
Dr Victoria Montgomery, Lead Clinical Psychologist explains how the same sense of community support which brought people together on Sunday, can help too:
“It’s my privilege to be there for people when they need our care. But living on after a loved one has died always requires the support of our communities. Over recent months we have started reconnecting with our own support networks, and I see the difference this makes to the emotional wellbeing of us all. In such a significant way, your donation to this Light up a Life appeal is a continuation of that community support, as you help us to be there for people when they need us. Thank you.”
Donations are welcome until Wednesday 5 January 2022 at arhc.org.uk/lual. Funds raised will help fund vital front-line care for people living with an advanced serious illness or other life-limiting condition, and those who need end-of-life care, in Cambridgeshire. The lights on the tree and the stars adorned with the names of loved ones remembered (which can be seen in the windows of the first floor Education Suite above the Hospice’s entrance) will shine out into the dark winter’s nights, until twelfth night.
Arthur Rank Hospice Charity would like to thank: headline sponsor Peasgood & Skeates; Venue Audio Visual who recorded the evening allowing it to be screened online; Solitech who did the lighting; Event Sparx for providing the cables and cable covers for the tree lights; Jan Smith, Deaf Church Coordinator at Cambs Deaf Church, who movingly interpreted all spoken and sung elements of the service into sign language; Sing! Choirs as well as the Cambridge Citadel of The Salvation Army Band for their beautiful musical contributions on the evening; all the volunteers who helped make the event possible, particularly Chris Banks and Martin Harwood who dressed the tree in its stunning lights for the twenty first time, this year!