Each year St Michael’s Hospice hosts Lights of Love, an opportunity to make a tangible act of remembrance for loved ones no longer with us, in the form of dedicating a star or heart on a Lights of Love tree.
Whether your loved one received the care of St Michael’s Hospice or not, young or old, local or further afield, all can be remembered with Lights of Love.
Every year hundreds of people join together in the simple act of writing a personal message on either a star or a heart which cover our beautiful Lights of Love trees.
Each star or heart is placed next to a light on a tree at the location of your choice.
This year there will be trees located in nine towns and villages across the Hospice’s catchment area of Hastings and Rother.
Lights of Love church services take place on Sunday 2nd December and Sunday 9th December, which everyone is welcome to attend. All services start at 3pm and are followed by a tree lighting ceremony at 4pm.
Please visit the hospice website for a list of locations and dates. A non-religious Lights of Love ceremony is also held at the Hospice (Upper Maze Hill, St Leonards on Sea) on Wednesday 5th December at 6.30pm – a tree lighting ceremony will follow the service.
Annabel has taken part in Lights of Love for the past five years.
She said: “Thinking about and writing my star for the Lights of Love event in December is always the start of my Christmas.
“I write the same poem to my parents every year and just reading the words back to myself will bring tears to my eyes.
“As I pop the star into the post box I’m already wondering which tree we will find it on and who else I will meet there this year.
“As the nights draw in and the wind turns chilly, I start to think about who might like to join us round the trees at the Hospice. It’s such a magical sight that I love to share it with others.
“The buzz and chatter as families gather around the trees touching their stars and reading others nearby is a comforting feeling.
“Then as the sky turns deep blue the lights are switched on and the trees glow with the stars reflecting the warm twinkling lights.
“Just being there, where my Mummy died, is comforting too. But I’m there for my Dad as well even though he didn’t die in the Hospice.
“And friends are there too remembering their loved ones, young and old.
“Everyone is welcome to send in a star and join in this special event. Experiencing the warmth that the Hospice gives, especially at this perfect Christmas Lights of Love event, is magical.”
St Michael’s Hospice Director of Income Generation, Perdita Chamberlain, said: “For many, Lights of Love allows for reflection and remembrance in our increasingly busy lives. It offers a moment of calm, of peace and contemplation for those whom we have loved and lost. The act of coming together at one of our Lights of Love services, whether in church or at the Hospice, provides comfort and reassurance, a chance to reminisce, be sorrowful, be quiet and, at the same time, to celebrate the lives of those we have loved, to be thankful we have loved them and to have the support of those around us at such a time.”
You can pick up stars/ hearts from all St Michael’s Hospice shops, the Hospice reception, or they can be requested by post. Please call 01424 445177 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
At the services you will be able to view your star/ heart and the Book of Remembrance. Most of the trees used for Lights of Love have kindly been donated by Little Down Farm, at Westfield.
For more information visit www.stmichaelshospice.com/lightsoflove.