Isabel Hospice Lights of Love ceremonies return to celebrate the lives of loved ones lost

Isabel Hospice's Lights of Love ceremonies return this Christmas.

Isabel Hospice's Lights of Love ceremonies return this Christmas. - Credit: Isabel Hospice

After having to cancel all face-to-face public events last year, the Isabel Hospice Lights of Love remembrance ceremonies are returning to Hatfield and Welwyn Garden City, in what will mark a moving and meaningful start to the festive season.

Hospice chief executive Helen Glenister said: “With so many people experiencing the heartache of loss, separation and isolation over the past two years, coupled with the challenges facing the charity during the pandemic, it is our honour to be able to host this year’s ceremonies in person once more.”

Isabel Hospice's Lights of Love ceremonies return this Christmas.

Isabel Hospice's Lights of Love ceremonies return this Christmas. - Credit: Mandy Davies

The most magical part of the service is switching on the Lights of Love, in dedication of someone special. Christmas can be a lonely time, filled with mixed emotions. The ceremonies offer a special opportunity to gather and remember those we have lost. They allow people to support one another and share stories about those they hold dear, in the run-up to Christmas. 

Ceremonies
Local events will take place at 4pm on Saturday November 27 at The Green, Campus West, Welwyn Garden City and then 6.30pm on Thursday December 2 at Hatfield House. 
There is a total of eight ceremonies happening across Hertfordshire during November and December, a full list can be found below:

  • Ware, Van Hage Garden Centre , Saturday November 13 at 4pm
     
  • Buntingford, The Manor House, Friday November 26 at 6pm
     
  • Welwyn Garden City, The Green, Campus West, Saturday November 27 at 4pm
     
  • Cheshunt, Halsey Masonic Hall , Sunday November 28 at 4pm
     
  • Hatfield, Hatfield House, Thursday December 2 at 6.30pm
     
  • Bishop's Stortford, Market Square, Sunday December 5 at 4pm
     
  • Sawbridgeworth, Sayesbury Manor, Friday December 10 at 4.30pm
     
  • Hertford, Hertford Castle, Saturday December 11 at 4pm

Each event will include welcome speeches, Christmas carols, an uplifting reading from one of the Isabel volunteers, lights switch-on, blessing and dedication of lights, choir performance, a moment of reflection, blessing and goodbyes.

Isabel Hospice's Lights of Love ceremonies return this Christmas.

Isabel Hospice's Lights of Love ceremonies return this Christmas. - Credit: Isabel Hospice

How to take part
If you would like to join one of this year’s ceremonies and make a dedication, all you need to do is visit www.isabelhospice.org.uk/lightsoflove or call 01707 382500 to speak with a member of the hospice team.

Isabel Hospice's Lights of Love ceremonies were online last year.

Isabel Hospice's Lights of Love ceremonies were online last year. - Credit: Isabel Hospice

Please note, while the hospice is busy planning for these events to go ahead, they do advise you visit their website or call the team should there be any changes in current government guidance.

Members of the Isabel Hospice team.

Members of the Isabel Hospice team. - Credit: Isabel Hospice

One patient's story
Each year, Isabel Hospice care for hundreds of patients and their families in their own homes and in their In-Patient Unit – patients such as Luke and Karen from Welwyn Garden City.

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“Luke was a very well-respected man. He was straight-talking, had a genuine interest in people’s lives and was a really good laugh. He was a keen sportsman and played Sunday league football religiously.

"He played for and captained his local football team, even after he was diagnosed and during chemotherapy – he was pretty unstoppable! He was a kind and loving husband and dad, was always making us laugh and supported us in all aspects of our lives. 

Luke and Karen from Welwyn Garden City and their children.

Luke and Karen from Welwyn Garden City and their children. - Credit: Isabel Hospice

“When we got the diagnosis, we were in disbelief. It was so surreal. The fact they diagnosed stage 4 meant we had a lot to think about as he would not be cured. How would we explain this to the children? How long would he live? It was a devastating time.

“I used to love Christmas. It was my favourite time of the year. But when my mum died, I lost a bit of that Christmas sparkle, and then when Luke died, I was done with it.

“Isabel Hospice’s Lights of Love campaign might be a therapeutic way to bring back a bit of what’s been lost. Our children – Freya, 12, Sam, 10 and Matilda, eight – expect Christmas to happen. Last year, after Luke died, I didn’t want to stay at home. So, I put my big girl pants on and decided to take the children by myself to Lapland.

Luke and Karen from Welwyn Garden City and their children.

Luke and Karen from Welwyn Garden City and their children. - Credit: Isabel Hospice

“When it was cancelled due to lockdown, I had to put on a jolly Christmas persona for the children, which was so hard. On Christmas Day, I spent an hour in my bedroom crying. I felt like a fraud. This year, we are going to Lapland.

“When you are facing extreme vulnerability, hospice support is vital. Isabel Hospice deliver their care unequivocally, with passion and kindness.”

You can read more about Luke and Karen’s story at isabelhospice.org.uk.

Fundraising
We would kindly ask you to consider making a donation towards the free palliative care provided by Isabel Hospice. They rely on fundraising and donations to help them deliver their very best services throughout the next few months and beyond.

The pandemic has been a huge financial and emotional challenge, but they are proud of what they have still managed to accomplish. Backing from amazing supporters like you is invaluable.

For example, one hour of expert nursing care for a hospice in-patient, like Luke, costs £28 – and yet so much can be achieved in that time.

A gift of £47 could cover the cost of running the Living Well with Isabel service for one hour this winter, which offers practical care and social support in a positive environment. This year, the hospice needs to raise a total of £16,937 each and every day (including Christmas Day!) to provide their services.

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