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Families invited to celebrate and remember their loved ones over festive season

The festive season is often a special time when family and friends come together to celebrate and remember the people they have loved and lost. 
Amanda & Salli (cropped)

As part of our annual Light up a Life Appeal, we are inviting people to dedicate a star with a message to their loved ones in return for a donation.     

Every star received will be displayed in our beautiful gardens for the whole of December until Twelfth Night.     

The Light up a Life Appeal is one of our major fundraising initiatives as we seek to raise almost £8m a year to cover the cost of providing its extensive range of specialist end of life care and support services to the community.     

"All our care is provided completely free and without obligation - but each year it is a challenge to find the money needed to pay for it," said Palliative Care Consultant Dr Mark Howard.    

Amanda & Salli

"Saint Francis Hospice is a charity and only receives enough government and NHS support to cover a small part of our care services.      

"The clinical team here at the Hospice is very aware that we can only continue to support people in our community at the most vulnerable time in their lives if our community continues to support us."     

                                                                                    Amanda and her mum Salli

This year Amanda Green, whose beloved mum Salli Bennett was cared for on our Inpatient Unit before she died in 2016, is fronting the appeal and sharing her family's experience of hospice care.     

"The care she received from everyone there was just astonishing," said Amanda.    

"Like many people, I had no idea what 'hospice' really meant.

Now, I wonder how any family could possibly do without them."    

During December the Hospice is also holding three Light up a Life events where people can gather together to think of those special people who are no longer with us. 

There will be a service at St John the Evangelist Church in Havering-atte-Bower on Sunday, December 2nd at 3pm.      

The second event will be held in the hospice grounds on Sunday, December 9th at 4pm and our final service will be held at Brentwood Cathedral on Sunday, December 16th at 4pm.     

Amanda & Salli

Last year Amanda, along with her father Howard Bennett and their family, attended the event at the Hospice and described it as incredibly "uplifting."    

"We started the event feeling sad for mum - but the service was so positive and uplifting that we all left with a smile, remembering all the wonderful years we had with her.     

"It really helped us that we could show mum that we were thinking of her by being there and by dedicating a star and we'll all be there again this year."    

To avoid overcrowding, entry to all events is by ticket only. Tickets are free and are issued on a first come first served basis so please request your tickets as early as possible to avoid disappointment. 

Tickets for the hospice service are now sold out.    

For more information visit LUAL or call the fundraising team on 01708 723593.