A hospice is celebrating an early Christmas gift of £22,500 raised as families gathered to remember their lost loved ones.
Around 700 people turned up to St Benedict’s Hospice’s annual Light up a Life ceremony, in Ryhope, where hundreds of twinkling lights were adorned on a dedicated tree of remembrance.
Among the guests were the Mayor of Sunderland, Councillor Alan Emerson, who lost his wife Janice in the summer following a short illness, and the Eadon family, who lost their beloved husband, father and grandfather, Phil Eadon, at the end of March.
Anne Eadon, who attended the service with children Steph, Peter, Sarah, Chris and his fiancée Toni, and grandchild Joshua, three, said: “It was lovely to see so many families at St Benedict’s who, like us, had come together to remember someone special.
“The music and carols were beautiful and the afternoon was complete as we watched the children help switch on the lights of the tree of remembrance that will shine brightly during the Christmas period in memory of our loved ones.
“Going back to the hospice is not a sad time for us as we remember the happy times Phil had with everyone who helped him.
The tree looked beautiful when it was all lit up and despite the poignancy of the ceremony it was a very moving and lovely event.Catrina Flynn
“St Benedict’s Light up a Life is a great way to allow families to come together to remember as well as showing our thanks and appreciation to the fantastic team who were there when we needed their support.”
Catrina Flynn, the hospice’s fundraising manager, said: “The tree looked beautiful when it was all lit up and despite the poignancy of the ceremony it was a very moving and lovely event.
“We’re grateful to everyone who pledged a donation to light up life on our tree.”