Wigan widow asks residents to back hospice campaign in memory of her late husband
A Wigan widow today urges residents to contribute to one of the borough’s biggest and most poignant charity appeals.
Jacqueline Turner, who lost her husband Mark last year, gave her backing to Light for a Life in time for its annual launch by Wigan and Leigh Hospice.
Thousands of dedications are made each year to those special people in the lives of Wiganers, whether commemorating happy or sad occasions.
Those messages are then transformed into the countless lights which adorn an enormous Christmas tree which is switched on during an emotional ceremony in the grounds of the hospice’s Hindley headquarters.
Jacqueline, from Hindley, is lending her support to this year’s appeal after Mark was diagnosed with a rare type of cancer in 2017.
He underwent chemotherapy and radiotherapy but, soon after the treatment, was told the cancer had spread and he had just a few months left to live.
He spent the last seven weeks of his life on the in-patient unit at the hospice’s Kildare Street base before dying in July last year, aged just 56.
Jacqueline said: “Without the hospice we wouldn’t have been able to get through the darkest of days. It’s only when you need hospice care for yourself or your family that you realise how important it is.
“Mark was in the hospice for almost seven weeks and while he was there nothing was too much trouble.
“He spent the last weeks of his life in a lovely room and as much time as he could in the gardens where we often ate breakfast together.
“Friends and family visited him and we even had a barbecue there for our 17th wedding anniversary.
“None of this would have been possible without support from local people. This is why I am backing the Light for a Life campaign.”
Mark originally worked as a firefighter before spending most of his career in the building trade. Away from work he was a keen golfer and a birdwatching enthusiast.
Between them he and Jacqueline have four children and five grandchildren.
Jacqueline made a Light for a Life donation to Mark last year and will be doing the same again this year as well as attending the ceremony.
Although many dedications will be similar to Jacqueline’s, commemorating people who have died and those who were looked after by the hospice, that is far from the only thing Light for a Life is for.
A whole host of happier occasions can also be celebrated and Wiganers can also publicly acknowledge those who they wouldn’t want to be without in life.
The dedication ceremony this year falls on Tuesday December 3, with a short service featuring carols, hymns, music from Trinity Girls Brass Band and readings before the big moment when the tree is illuminated.
Dedications, though, can be made until Twelfth Night. All messages received will go into the Book of Dedications which will be kept as a permanent tribute.
Hospice fund-raiser Christine Edwardson said: “Light for a Life is a special fundraising appeal for us. It is an opportunity to keep memories of loved ones alive or give thanks for a happy event, such as a wedding or birth.
“People who make dedications are helping to ensure that patients from Wigan and Leigh living with incurable illnesses will be able to access the specialist care they need.”
Dedications can be made by ringing 01942 525566 or online at www,wlh.org.uk
Forms will also soon be available from the hospice’s shops, the reception at its Kildare Streeet headquarters, some GP and dental surgeries and other locations around the borough.
A separate form should be filled out for each dedication.