Yorkshire Evening Post readers have been signing up to support this year’s Light Up A Life event to remember lost loved ones this Christmas and raise money for two of the city’s hospices.
The annual appeal offers people the chance to sponsor a light on a tree in memory of someone special in aid of our Half and Half Appeal, which raises money for both St Gemma’s Hospice in Moortown and Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice in Headingley.
The tree will be on display at The Light shopping centre over the festive period, with the lights lit during a special carol service on December 5.
We launched this year’s Light Up A Life appeal on October 22 and dedications have already been coming in. These will be listed on a roll of honour beside the tree and in the paper every Saturday from November 10.
One of those who will be taking part is Christine Eastwood, 59, of Hunslet, who has supported the Light Up A Life appeal for the last four years, in memory of her father Michael Flannigan, who died 12 years ago, and her husband John’s father, who was cared for at St Gemma’s Hospice before he died.
“Light Up A Life is so important because it helps you in December to remember those you have lost. It’s including them in your heart at Christmas.
“It’s lovely just to stand there and see the tree lit up and your thoughts are with everyone you’ve lost.”
Christine, whose father died of a heart attack so wasn’t cared for at the hospice, stressed anyone can take part in Light Up A Life and show support for hospices at the same time.
“It’s not about what illness they had. It’s something to be involved in - to remember them as well as helping the hospices. It gives me something back in helping me to remember my father. If I didn’t have anything like that, what would I be able to do? It’s my way of saying ‘Dad, I still love and miss you’. And when you’re there you see other people feeling the same. But it’s not a morbid celebration - it’s saying ‘we are here and you are still with us’.
Christine said she has also seen friends and neighbours be cared for at the hospices, particularly St Gemma’s and the Half and Half Appeal, supporting both, is an incredibly worthwhile cause.
“They are really good hospices and need a lot of support. What they give back, not only to patients, but also to families as well, with support and kindness, is just so special. I can’t speak highly enough about them.”
How to donate:
All proceeds for the Light Up A Life appeal will go towards the YEP’s Half and Half Appeal which is believed to be the longest-running newspaper charity campaign in the country.
Set up in 1982 to raise equal sums for St Gemma’s and Wheatfields, the appeal is currently edging ever close to the £3m mark.
In 2014 we launched ‘Project £3m’ to try and reach the grand total and now - in a year which marks both hospices’ 40th anniversaries - the appeal has just £15k to go.
YEP editor Hannah Thaxter hopes this year’s Light Up A Life fundraiser will help readers show their support to the city’s hospices and give a real boost to the fundraising milestone.
“It is such an emotional and touching event and a wonderful opportunity to remember those that we have all lost.
“If you’ve never taken part in this before, please can I appeal to you to make a donation this year and help us to give even more money to the hospices, who work to support those with cancer and other life-limiting illnesses, and their families and friends, all year round.”
To sponsor a light online, visit The Virgin Money Giving page here putting ‘Light up a Life’ at the beginning, followed by the name the light is dedicated to. The message can also include a dedication to run in the paper.