dpm is a Birmingham-based freelancer with experience of arts and lifestyle features.
Families remembering together
Families in and around Birmingham are being invited to take part in the John Taylor Hospice Light up a Life event this December.
The annual remembrance event is a special time to remember loved ones who have died and to make a dedication in their memory. The half-hour service is open to people of all ages and is free to attend with no need to pre-book places.
Light up a Life will be held on Sunday 10 December at 6pm at Hollyfields Centre, Woodacre Road in Erdington. The short service will feature music, readings and a quiet moment for reflection, with a tree filled with lights – all dedicated to people who are very special to us.
There is the opportunity for people to enter the names of loved ones who have died into a special Light up a Life Remembrance Book – dedication information needs to be sent to the hospice ahead of the event. Hospices around the UK host Light up a Life events during the festive period and they are open to anyone – not just people whose loved ones were cared for by a hospice.
This year, the hospice has introduced dedication stars as a new way to write a personal message to someone special. Each dedication pack contains two stars with space to write a message – one star is to keep and one can be returned to John Taylor to decorate Christmas trees inside the hospice during December. Stars will be available at Light up a Life or by contacting the Fundraising Team.
Light up a Life star
John Taylor Hospice Community Fundraising Manager Darren Dudley said: "Hundreds of families joined us for last year's Light up a Life and it is always a very special and moving service. We feel privileged to stand side-by-side with families, friends, hospice staff and volunteers to honour the lives of people we love and miss and will always hold dear. As well as being a special time to remember loved ones, Light up a Life donations help to support the work of hospices by raising vital funds."
Joining this year's Light up a Life in memory of their mother Betty Morris are sisters Joanne and Helen Morris. When Betty was diagnosed with womb and lung cancer in May 2016, her wish was to be cared for at John Taylor Hospice. Joanne and Helen say they will be 'forever grateful' for the care and support their mother received from the hospice – both in her own home and at the hospice in Erdington, Birmingham.
Helen, aged 54, said: "Mommy was very caring and was always thinking of others. The three of us lived very happily together in our home in Great Barr. When the ambulance arrived to take Mommy to the hospice she waved goodbye to her home of 58 years. This was our first experience of a hospice and from the moment she arrived she was welcomed by all staff. All of the care Mommy received at John Taylor was exceptional and this made such a terrible situation quite bearable. We know she was looked after so well and there was never any doubt in our minds which was very reassuring for us all."
Helen, Betty and Joanne Morris
Joanne, 58, added: "We found all the staff to be quite remarkable and it is because of these wonderful people we have lots of happy memories. We always speak so highly of John Taylor and mention hospices to people to make them aware of what fantastic places they are. We will never forget all that was done for Mommy and feel we will be forever grateful."
Dedications for the Book of Remembrance will need to be with the hospice by 1 December. For more information please email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.johntaylorhospice.org.uk