A poignant show of festive spirit in Leeds has ensured that the memories of lost loved ones will still shine bright this Christmas.
The annual Light Up A Life carol service, which is one of the most moving events on the city’s festive calendar, saw more than 100 people gather around a Christmas tree outside The Light shopping centre tonight.
Tears were shed and comforting embraces were shared at the ceremony, which saw the tree illuminated by lights that are each sponsored by Yorkshire Evening Post readers as a tribute to a late loved one.
The names of those with lights dedicated to them were listed on a lengthy roll of honour, which takes pride of place by the tree.
Rebecca Gregg, from New Farnley, went along to the event with husband Tony and their children Cameron and Holly to pay their respects to four late family members who grace the roll of honour.
“It’s been brilliant, we love it and the kids love coming here as they’re in the choir at school,” she said. “It gives us some kind of focal point to pay our respects. The kids always say ‘which light is grandma and which is granddad’ when they light the tree.”
The event featured readings from representatives from both Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice, in Headingley, and St Gemma’s Hospice, in Moortown, as well as five carols led by the Hall Royd Band and Raise Your Voice - Pudsey Community Choir.
Donations for Light Up A Life go to the YEP’s Half and Half Appeal, which has supported both hospices since 1982 and raised a staggering £2.9million to date.
Jeremy Clifford, the YEP’s editorial director, revealed that this year the festive fundraiser had generated £10,197.
He said: “Christmas is a time when happiness and sadness go hand in hand, when we miss our loved ones more and more.”
To donate to the YEP appeal visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com/YEPHalfandHalfAppeal.