Loved ones remembered at the Light Up a Life Christmas service in Leeds

Stood in front of the Christmas tree, each light representing someone special, people in Leeds gathered to remember their loved ones this Christmas.

Wednesday, 11th December 2019, 9:00 pm
Updated Wednesday, 11th December 2019, 9:30 pm
Carols sung at the annual YEP Light up a Life event held at The Light shopping centre in Leeds in aid of our Half and Half Appeal. Picture Tony Johnson.

The moving scenes of remembrance took place in The Light shopping centre on Wednesday evening, as part of the Yorkshire Evening Post's annual Light Up A Life service.

People gathered around the Christmas tree to think about the ones they have lost, as they came together to sing Christmas hymns, eat mince pies and perhaps toast their loved one's memory with a glass of mulled wine.

Every bulb that lit up the Christmas tree was sponsored in the memory of someone special, who also received a dedication listed in a roll of honour by the tree and in the paper.

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The band performing carols at the Light Up A Life service in The Light. Photo: Tony Johnson.

Each bulb and sponsor raised money for the YEP's Half and Half appeal, which since 1982 has made nearly £3m for two Leeds institutions, Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice and St Gemma’s Hospice.

Last year's Light Up a Life appeal raised £7,296 for the two charities.

Trevor Lamb, 68, from Kirkstall, came to the event with his wife Susan, 66 and friend Trevor Taylor.

Mr Lamb said: "We have been coming almost every year for the last ten years.

"It is a good way of supporting the charities as well as to remember the ones we love and be together."

Mr Taylor. 75, from Guiseley, added: "I lost my wife in 2009 when she died of cancer.

"I started coming to the appeal as it was a great cause to support and I've only missed one year in the last ten years.

"Today is particularly special to me as it would have been her birthday. It has been very emotional."

Donna Woodman, head of hospice fundraiser at Sue Ryder, said: "Even though it was freezing cold, the magical moment when the lights came on was special and warmed everyone up.

"A hug thank you as always to everyone that has supported our two hospices this year."

Laura Collins, editor of the Yorkshire Evening Post, also attended and gave a reading.

Mrs Collins said: "It's always a very touching time of the year as we approach Christmas and remember our lost loved ones.

"The city of Leeds is incredibly grateful to the tireless work of our two hospices St Gemma's and Wheatfields.

"This event was a wonderful way to remember those we have lost in the run up to Christmas.

"Thank you everyone for your constant support of our Half and Half appeal."