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Fiona Tait spent six weeks on St Oswald’s Inpatient unit before she died in July 2020. With sisters Morag and Paola living in London and California, their parents in Ponteland and Fiona’s son James in Heaton, taking part in last year’s virtual Light up a Life service meant the family were able to come together in a shared act of remembrance for Fiona, despite the thousands of miles that separated them.

 Morag said:

 “Fiona arrived at the hospice for end of life care just as the Covid restrictions were easing last summer. We were thankful that her family and friends were allowed into the hospice, which meant so much to her. Fiona had many people she wanted to see, and we were blessed that everyone was able to visit, and give her comfort.

 “Losing Fiona was extremely hard for our whole family. My sister Paola flew back from California as Fiona’s illness progressed but sadly, due to quarantine rules, she was unable to visit her a final time. We decided to set up a Tribute Fund to support the Hospice in Fiona’s memory as we wanted to give something back to the staff who made her feel safe and cherished, managing her daily routine with professionalism, dignity, laughter and love.

“We chose to take part in the Virtual Light up a Life service last December as a way to be together to remember Fiona. With so much distance between us all, we have had to grieve separately, so this was a moment that allowed us to come together as a family, sharing our memories as well as sadness. It was well timed for our family, facing a first Christmas without Fiona, and especially hard as her birthday falls just a week before.

“On the night of the service, we all tuned in at the same time, lit a candle and hung the stars on our trees and just talked about Fiona. It was a special moment of connection and despite the thousands of miles between us, we were together, for Fiona, and it meant such a lot to us all.”

Morag and her family plan to honour Fiona’s memory by taking part in St Oswald’s Light up a Life remembrance service this Christmas.

On Sunday 19th December at 7pm, they will light a candle in their windows, along with thousands of others remembering those they love and miss. Everyone is invited to join in with this shared act of remembrance, which will be broadcast on St Oswald’s Hospice’s’ Facebook page and on the website at www.stoswaldsuk.org/light-up-a-life.