Hospice launches new Light for a Life crusade

Rebekah Ashley, patient unit sister at Wigan and Leigh Hospice, launches the annual Light for a Life fund-raising event

Rebekah Ashley, patient unit sister at Wigan and Leigh Hospice, launches the annual Light for a Life fund-raising event

Wiganers will once again help one of the borough’s biggest charities and celebrate their loved ones by donating a Light For A Life.

Wigan and Leigh Hospice (WLH) is launching its popular annual scheme which sees thousands or residents celebrate or remember people who have touched their lives in a special way.

Helen Edmondson with husband Max and son, also called Max

Helen Edmondson with husband Max and son, also called Max

Each dedication will be turned into a light on a giant Christmas tree which will be lit up in a moving ceremony at WLH’s Hindley headquarters in early December.

Lights can be used as a tribute to those who are no longer alive but also to mark happier occasions such as new arrivals, milestone birthdays, wedding anniversaries and christenings.

One Wiganer who will be making a dedication and is urging other residents to join in is Lowton resident Helen Edmondson, who will remember her husband Max who died at home from prostate cancer in February.

Helen will dedicate a light as Max was cared for by WLH’s palliative care team, as an in-patient at its Kildare Street base and also through the Hospice in Your Home team.

Max was treated at WLH for six weeks in November and December 2015 after developing spinal cord compression and received weekly visits from hospice staff until he died with Helen and their six-year-old son, also called Max, at his bedside.

Helen, 43, said: “The hospice did so much for Max. He had physiotherapy every day with different exercises, he had counselling as did myself and our son, he experienced the complementary therapy and even attended a craft session.

“We are definitely going to dedicate a light on the tree in memory of Max because all three of us attended the service last year when Max was an in-patient, it was such a lovely evening and very emotional. It’s about remembering Max and also about donating to the hospice which cared for him.

“If we keep talking about someone then they are not really gone and by going to the ceremony, it’s one way of keeping his memory alive and remembering him.”

The dedication scheme has become one of the hospice’s most popular fund-raisers since it began in 1998, raising thousands of pounds for its work each year.

Residents can now start making dedications, with every name from this year’s Light For A Life being entered into a permanent book of tributes.

This year’s switch-on ceremony in the grounds of WLH’s headquarters will be on Tuesday, December at 6.30pm. The dedication scheme will run until the 12th night after Christmas.

Christine Edwardson, community fund-raiser, said: “Light for a Life is a chance to give thanks, to celebrate a special event, such as a birth or an anniversary, or remember a loved one.

“It is not only for those who have a connection to the Hospice, but is for anyone who would like to make a dedication to someone they love, or have loved.”

Dedications can be made downloading a form from www.wlh.org.uk.

Forms are also available from Wigan and Leigh Hospice shops, the hospice reception, some GP and dentist surgeries and other locations around Wigan Borough. A separate form should be completed for each dedication.