WITH the countdown on to one of the borough’s most moving charity events one Wiganer has told why she is supporting the scheme.
Maria Caldwell will make a dedication to her husband Stan, who died of prostate cancer in September, as part of the Light for a Life appeal at Wigan and Leigh Hospice.
Maria, 65, will see her light dedicated to Stan, who died aged 71, join thousands of other memorials to people who have touched the lives of Wiganers on the huge tree in the hospice’s grounds.
Hundreds of people will gather in the grounds of the charity’s Kildare Street headquarters next Tuesday to see the tree switched on at the end of a short ceremony.
Maria said: “I wanted to dedicate a light in Stan’s memory as I had heard from friends who had done it and recommended it as a lovely way of remembering a loved one.
“My daughter downloaded the Light for a Life form from the hospice website and we all came to drop it off together. My granddaughter Jessica, who is five, came too and straight away she remembered the hospice as ‘the beautiful hotel where Grandad stayed’.”
Maria worked as a volunteer at the hospice in the ’90s when it was based in Poolstock, but Stan only visited for the first time earlier this year when referred for palliative care.
She paid tribute to the care he received from the staff which helped the whole family cope with the difficult times towards the end of his life.
She said: “Being at the hospice made such a huge difference to the whole family as he was no longer in pain or suffering and I was back to being his wife rather than his carer. Stan felt like he had got some dignity back in his life again and, when his condition deteriorated, he decided that he wanted to spend his final days at the hospice and so his final wish came true.”
As well as paying tribute to former patients of the hospice many Wiganers will use their Light for a Life dedications to celebrate happier events, such as new births, milestone birthdays or wedding anniversaries or marriages.
The tree lights will be switched on at 6.30pm. The messages will also be entered into a book of dedications which will be printed and bound as a permanent tribute. Dedications can be made until the 12th night after Christmas by visiting any of WLH’s charity shops or downloading a form online at www.wlh.org.uk