Shining Lights will illuminate Hospice

Hundreds of festive lights will lift the gloom of a COVID Christmas as a community remembers its loved ones and helps raise crucial funds for a hospice.

St Teresa’s Hospice will again take part in the national Light up a Life appeal, offering people the opportunity to dedicate a light to someone special. But this year, because of the pandemic, Light up a Life will look different.

A dedication and lighting ceremony will be broadcast live from The Woodlands, the Darlington home of St Teresa’s Hospice, at 3pm on Sunday December 20. There is no charge for this and everyone is welcome to attend, regardless of whether or not their loved one was cared for by the Hospice.

For a donation to St Teresa’s, people will be able to dedicate a light to a loved one after which they will also receive an acknowledgement card from the hospice which they can hang on their Christmas tree or place on the mantlepiece.

All the trees in The Woodlands will be lit for the entire festive period thanks to Harvey Electrical Services as part of their adoption of St Teresa’s Hospice this year.

A Light up a Life banner will also adorn the walls of St Teresa’s on Woodland Road.

Hospice chief executive Jane Bradshaw said: “The events of 2020 have shown us once again just how important it is to remember and celebrate the lives of those who are special to us.

“As well as losing the ones we loved, some of whom were taken by COVID-19, this year has seen charities suffer financially as a result of the pandemic. This initiative is one of the few events we are able to stage and the fundraising element will help us continue our vital work for the community.”

Anyone wanting to dedicate a light should go to www.darlingtonhospice.org.uk/light-up-a-life/ to make a donation and leave dedication. This appeal is open to everyone, whether or not loved ones were cared for by a hospice.

The Hospice needs to raise £3m a year to provide free day, in-patient and community care for people living with life-limiting illnesses and their families in Darlington, South Durham and North Yorkshire.

An emergency appeal launched in March raised more than £100,000 in a matter of weeks and hospice officials are having to turn to the community again for help in difficult times for all. Donations can be made at www.justgiving.com/campaign/hugtostts.

Funds donated to the appeal so far have ensured the hospice has been able to continue providing 24/7 care and support in its in-patient unit and in patients’ own homes, through St Teresa’s Community Hospice Services, including the Rapid Response Team. This has helped reduce the burden on the NHS at a critical time.