Birmingham’s largest hospice is encouraging families to remember their loved ones this Christmas, with an evening of music and celebration.
Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice based in Selly Oak has been caring for local people for 40 years and is inviting the community to its seasonal ‘Light up a Life’ ceremonies, to remember and celebrate the lives of those who are sadly no longer with us.
With two events taking place at the Hospice on Thursday 12 December – the first at 5.30pm and the second at 7.30pm – guests will be able to enjoy Christmas carols, live musical performances and a moving display of silent fireworks.
The night will also see the charity officially turn on its Christmas tree lights – with lights symbolising the lives of those that the Hospice has cared for over the past four decades, as well as those who weren’t but want to be honoured by their families.
There will also be an opportunity to honour loved ones before the event, in the Hospice’s online ‘Book of Remembrance’. The online book will be filled with tributes and anyone who makes a dedication will be able to share the book with their family and friends. A physical book will be displayed at the ceremony.
Cal Harbourne will be one of the attendees at this year’s Light up a Life event. She will be remembering her husband Rob, who the Hospice cared for at home and then on its Inpatient Unit.
Cal said: “Finding out Rob had a terminal tumour was just heart-breaking. We were put in touch with Birmingham St Mary’s and in a matter of days, Debbie from their community team started visiting us at home.
“Debbie was incredible. Not only did she support Rob with clinical care but she became a helping hand to lift Rob up when life felt impossible. What I didn’t expect was the care I would receive too. I was given a line of support – Debbie just instinctively knew what we were going through and how to help ease our pain.
“Sadly, Rob passed away just before Christmas. It was the most calm and peaceful time with every last wish granted and every sentiment perfect. There’s not a day that goes by when I don’t think of him and it’s at this time of year when I miss him most. That’s why I’ll be remembering his memories at the Hospice’s Light up a Life event.”
Joining Cal will be popular media broadcaster, Llewela Bailey, who will be hosting the events and pressing the button to switch on the charity’s iconic lights.
Llewela added: “What always surprises me about Light up a Life is how uplifting and celebratory it is. It’s a wonderful way to bring together local people and honour the memories of their loved ones. Christmas can be a difficult time for anyone who has experienced loss but this is a unique and meaningful way to remember that special someone.
“As the Hospice’s patron, I’m honoured to be hosting Light up a Life, especially as it’s during the charity’s 40th anniversary year.”
Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice provides vital care to people and their loved ones who are living with a life-limiting illness. The Light up a Life ceremonies are part of the Hospice’s ‘Care at Christmas’ campaign – a festive appeal to raise money for the charity leading up to and over the Christmas period.
This year, it will cost the Hospice £24,658 to run its crucial services on Christmas Day so all donations will enable its expert team to continue to care for people over the festive season.
To find out more about Light up a Life or to make a dedication in its Book of Remembrance, please visit: birminghamhospice.org.uk/light-up-a-life