The family of a Wigan dad killed tragically young by a rare and aggressive cancer has launched one of the year’s most moving charity appeals.
Relatives of Joe Jolley, who lost his battle for life aged just 23 in April, have announced the beginning of Wigan and Leigh’s Hospice’s annual Light for a Life campaign.
Joe, from Hindley, was cared for at the Kildare Street charity but died just four weeks after his diagnosis.
Heartbreakingly his mum Anita and sisters Katy and Chloe launched Light for a Life the week his daughter Tilly turned one.
Each year the lives of people special to Wiganers are marked by the appeal, with families flocking to remember or give thanks for happy occasions.
Each dedication is then turned into a light on a massive Christmas tree in the hospice’s grounds which is illuminated in an emotional ceremony.
Katy, 32, said: “We are so pleased to launch Life for a Life for the hospice this year. Making a dedication is a way for us as a family of keeping Joe’s memory alive, which is especially important for his daughter who was so young when he passed away.
“At Christmas we’ll all come to the Light for a Life ceremony and we’ll carry on doing other things to remember him and to raise money for such a worthy cause.
“By coming to the ceremony we’ll be with other people who are grieving as well and it will be nice for us all to come together.
“The hospice is a lovely place and, although there has been a lot of sadness there for us as a family, it’s been a massive help and it’s an amazing place.”
This year’s ceremony will be on December 4 at 6.30pm, with the dedications also being inscribed in a book as a permanent tribute.
A short service will include Christmas carols, hymns, music by Trinity Girls Brass Band and readings.
As in previous years dedications can be made until the 12th day after Christmas.
The appeal is always one of the charity’s biggest fund-raisers, bringing in thousands of pounds to fund its work helping Wiganers with life-limiting illnesses.
Christine Edwardson, community fund-raiser for the hospice, said: “Light for a Life is very special to us at the hospice and to those who make dedications. It is a way of remembering those people we have loved and lost but also is a chance for us to celebrate a life or a joyful event, such as a wedding or birth.
“The Light for a Life ceremony is very moving and we welcome anyone who has made or wants to make a dedication to attend.”
Light for a Life is not just for people who have a direct link to the hospice and it is not solely for remembering those who have died.
Lights can also be switched on to celebrate new births, milestone birthdays, major wedding anniversaries and couples tying the knot or to simply thank someone who has made a difference.
Dedications to Light for a Life can be made by picking up forms from Wigan and Leigh Hospice’s shops, the reception at its Kildare Street headquarters, GPs and dentists surgeries or online at www.wlh.org.uk
A separate form should be fille dout for each person who is being remembered.