A SEA of twinkling lights was created as people paid tribute to loved ones who spent their last days at a Wearside hospice.
The annual Light Up A Life celebration at St Benedict’s Hospice saw hundreds of people gather in the grounds of Monkwearmouth Hospital.
Each year hundreds of beautiful lights are lit on the Light Up A Life tree and twinkle in memory of loved ones throughout the Christmas period.
Hospice chaplain Caroline Worsfold welcomed the crowds to the service on Sunday evening, which was the last one at the hospice’s current home.
A purpose-built £12.3million hospice is being built at the hospital.
Crowds gathered by a huge Christmas tree and sang along to traditional carols played out by the Salvation Army brass band.
Hospice patron Denise Robertson wiped away tears as she switched on the tree’s lights, celebrating the lives of more than 1,000 loved ones.
She said: “It is very moving to see people as far as the eye can see, as we say goodbye to a building that meant so much to us.
“I came here to work here as a young girl and saw my dearly beloved son die here.
“The new building will be just as welcoming and will be just as important to us.
“We don’t need encouraging to remember those that we love, but these lights will be a symbol to everyone that passes in the next week or so, that they will not be forgotten.”
Schoolgirl Faye Trimble, 10, and mum Lynn Hume, both from Ashbrooke, held candles for Lynn’s mum Kathleen Trimble, who lost her battle with breast cancer at the hospice 26 years ago, aged 56.
They also remembered former hospice patients Maud and William Trimble, aunt and uncle of Lynn, who works in a newsagent’s in Ashbrooke.
Lynn is a keen fund-raiser for the hospice, along with daughter Faye, who goes to Hill View Junior School, and the pair also took part in this year’s Race for Life for Cancer Research UK.
She said: “We come here every year and we all gather together and see friends.
“We’ve got a lot of friends here and got to know people.
“It is absolutely lovely.”
Donations of about £17,000 were received, which will go towards funding a chapel at the new hospice.