Hospice patient given special role at moving service in memory of Wigan people

A hospice patient will flick the switch to turn on glittering lights at a moving ceremony to remember Wigan people who have been loved and lost.

By Gaynor Clarke
Tuesday, 30th November 2021, 12:30 pm

Wigan and Leigh Hospice is holding its virtual Light for a Life service today and is encouraging people to get involved in the special tribute.

Elaine Chamberlain, 52, from Ashton, has the role of switching on the lights on a 28ft-tall Christmas tree at the front of the hospice, which has been covered with lights each representing the life of someone special.

She will be accompanied by Lisa Taylor, a hospice nurse specialist who has worked at the charity for more than 17 years, who will make a speech before Elaine switches on the lights.

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Lisa Taylor with patient Elaine Chamberlain at Wigan and Leigh Hospice

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Light for a Life is an annual service held by the Hindley-based hospice, which provides care for adult patients nearing the end of their lives and supports their loved ones.

Elaine has been supported by the hospice nurse specialist team, which provides care for people at home, and the hospice physiotherapist on and off for five years when needed.

She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011 and was given the all-clear following an operation and chemotherapy. However, in 2016 it was discovered the cancer had returned in her spine and pelvis. She is also having treatment for lymphedema.

Filming takes place for the Light For A Life service

Elaine was referred to the hospice shortly after her diagnoses.

She said: “Before Covid-19 I had catch-ups with Lisa every couple of months and used to have physiotherapy at the hospice. Fortunately I got to the point where I didn’t need any support during the first 12 months or so of the pandemic, but I started getting pain so I got re-referred and I’m getting help from Lisa again. Now she phones every few weeks and she has reviewed my medication to help with my pain. I’ve always known if I need help from the hospice, I can get it.

“It was totally a shock when I was asked to be part of the service but I feel honoured.”

The Light for a Life service will feature speeches and readings from Jo Carby, chief executive of the hospice, as well as clinical director Vicki McLoughlin.

Vicki McLoughlin, clinical director at the hospice

Pauline Payne, chairman of the board of trustees, will deliver a reading and prayers will be led by Dr Sheila Fisher, a hospice trustee and licensed lay minister.

Music will be supplied by Trinity Girls’ Brass Band and The Quest Trust Schools.

The ceremony will be shown on the hospice’s Facebook page, YouTube channel and on wlh.org.uk at 6.30pm on Tuesday, November 30.

To make a dedication in memory of a loved one for Light for a Life, visit wlh.org.uk or contact [email protected] or 01942 525566 for a dedication form.

The tree can be seen on Saturday during the hospice’s Christmas fair, which will run from noon to 6pm at its site on Kildare Street, Hindley.

Other attractions will include stalls selling Christmas gifts, crafts, toys, refreshments and much more, while Father Christmas will be there.

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