The Mayor of Sunderland left a heartfelt message to his late wife as he officially opened a dedication tree for a Wearside hospice.
Coun Alan Emerson, who lost his beloved wife Janice in the summer after a short illness, was the first to write a loved one’s name and message on one of the specially-designed baubles which hang on the tree to raise funds for St Benedict’s Hospice.
The tree will be outside Tesco, in The Bridges shopping centre, Sunderland, until December 18, and supporters are asked to make a donation to the Ryhope-based hospice when writing their dedication.
Coun Emerson said: “We all feel the pain and loss when somebody near, dear and loved is no longer with us. I have had that pain this year with the loss of my wife Jan.
“Hospice care is very important for people who may be at an advanced stage of illness. We have many volunteers in our city who give time to good causes and institutions.
“Please take a moment to write a message, and please make a donation. Christmas can be a time when we are even more conscious of family or friends that are no longer with us. This dedication tree is an opportunity to write a message of remembrance and to help others.”
Catrina Flynn, fundraising manager at the hospice, said: “We’re very grateful to the Mayor, both for choosing the hospice as one of his charities this year and for completing one of the baubles during what will undoubtedly be a difficult time for him as we head towards Christmas.”
The hospice is looking for volunteers who can spare a couple of hours at the tree.
Anyone who can help can contact 0191 512 8436.