The evening of Wednesday 11th December saw our Newcastle Light up a Life service take plae at Newcastle's Utilita Arena. Hundreds of supporters came and joined in to sing, pray and reflect in memory of their loved ones and to date this year, the campaign has raised over £100,000 for St Oswald's.
The event was brilliantly hosted by our Spiritual Care Lead, Davina Radford and featured some very poignant and moving words from Freya Woods, age 14, whose little brother Will died aged just five. Freya was supported by St Oswald’s Bereavement Team and now uses her experience to help other young people cope with the loss of a loved one. Later in the service, Freya sang a solo on stage to a huge round of applause. Davina also welcomed a hospice therapy dog, Harley to the stage. This gave us all a chance to take a moment to remember the four-legged family members no longer with us.
The lights on our tree were beautifully lit by Lydia Elliott, age 9. Lydia was attending the service in memory of her Great Grandad Gordon, who died earlier this year. Lydia has accessed the bereavement support services of the hospice along with members of her family, and she did a wonderful job of lighting our trees. You can see the moment the tree was lit here.
There was also a fun rendition of Little Donkey by the children in the audience, who were invited up on stage, and it was signed in Makaton by Nichola Aldcroft. The evening ended with a festive classic, White Christmas, sang by Jamie “Baldy Holly” Bell and the audience and made all the more beautiful by everyone holding their illuminated phones in the air as they sang.
A big thank you to everyone involved in making the event a success and to those who supported the campaign by making a donation in memory.
Thank you to Co-op Funeralcare who sponsored Light up a Life and helped out on the night, Canny Chanters and East Durham Dementia Friendly Choirs, Newcastle Concert Band and Robson’s Choice for providing music and song, to THC Landscapes for our gorgeous tree, Midnight Electronics for sound and lighting, Jeff Huntley Plant Ltd, Cowell’s Garden Centre, Hillheads Farm Shop and to Joy Calvert and the Metro Radio Arena Staff. And of course, thank you to our own staff and volunteers who made the event possible.
If you were unable to come or wish to listen again, the service will be broadcast by our friends at Radio Tyneside 93.6FM on Tuesday 24th December at 5.00pm.
There is still time to take part in Light up a Life this year, by making a donation in memory. Although we can’t guarantee we will get your card to you before Christmas, we will ensure it is with you as soon as possible. Click here to take part.
Finally, we'd love to hear what you thought of our Light up a Life campaign and event this year. Please give us your feedback by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, call us on 0191 246 9123 or comment on our Facebook page. You can also write to us at: ‘Light up a Life feedback’ Supporter Care Team, St Oswald’s Hospice Regent Avenue, Newcastle NE3 1EE.
We wish you all a peaceful and relaxing Christmas.