On Saturday 13th December we held our annual Lights of Love service online.

As a result of the restrictions of the pandemic, the service looked a little different this year, but after such a challenging year we wanted to find a way for you to remember together. This meant that we had to take our service outdoors and the hospice garden was decorated beautifully by our Gardener, Kevin, his volunteers and our Community Fundraising Manager, Sarah.

Sarah said: ‘Lights of Love has always been such an important time at St Wilfrid’s and we wanted to find a way to reach as many people as we could. I hope that everyone enjoyed our virtual version; perhaps not quite the same as being able to be together in person, but it was nice to think that we could still reach people albeit in a different way.’

The service was lead by our Spiritual Support Lead, Debbie Smith, who gave those of us who were watching at home the opportunity to light our own candle to remember our loved ones. This was followed by a poem – ‘Difficult Days’ from Winnie the Pooh, read by Maria Goodman, whose husband, David died in the hospice in April; a special performance from the children of Wings Theatre Group, who recorded a cover of the song ‘Sing’ especially for Lights of Love, and our St Wilfrid’s CEO, David Scott-Ralphs also said a few words of thanks. Debbie then brought the service to a close with a Christmas blessing:

May this holiday season bring you love, joy, peace and hope for the future.
May you receive the greatest gift of all: the gift of love and someone to share your life with.
May the season bring you cherished memories for those who have made and continue to make your lives special, for those you love and who will never be forgotten.
The message of Christmas is that we are never alone,
the heart of love is with you.
So may you know.
Walls for the wind to hold you.
A roof for the rain to protect you.
Drinks bedside the fire to keep you warm.
Laughter to cheer you.
And those you love near you and in your heart.
May you find all that your heart desires.
Keep well and keep safe and know that you are loved and valued for who you are, the life you bring and for all that you each offer to St Wilfrid’s.

Debbie said: ‘During a year of unprecedented change we embraced the memory of those we gathered to remember alongside the challenges and changes this year has brought. We read Winnie the Pooh – ‘Difficult Days’, acknowledging that we all have difficult days, and to be present for one another when there are no words is a gift of presence, to strengthen and renew our hope that life is worth living.’

We would like to thank Michelle Kinneavy, of Payne & Sons Funeral Directors, known by her stage name Belle Cannon, who recently recorded The Covid Hymn, which we used during service. It is a country music inspired cover of the hymn, How Great Thou Art and proceeds from the sales will be donated to St Wilfrid’s. It is available to download from Spotify, iTunes and Amazon. 

We would also like to thank Maria Goodman and her family for kindly sharing their story of David (you can read the full story on our blog here) and to the children of Wings Theatre Group for recording such a special video, which you can view here

The service is still available to watch below:

You can still dedicate a decoration for the tree to a loved one and make a donation here.

Difficult Days, Winnie the Pooh

‘Today was a Difficult Day,’ said Pooh. There was a pause.

‘Do you want to talk about it? ‘asked Piglet.

‘No,’ said Pooh after a bit. ‘No, I don’t think I do.’

‘That’s okay,’ said Piglet, and he came and sat beside his friend.

‘What are you doing?’ asked Pooh.

‘Nothing, really,’ said Piglet. ‘Only, I know what Difficult Days are like. I quite often don’t feel like talking about it on my Difficult Days either.’ But goodness,’ continued Piglet, ‘Difficult Days are so much easier when you know you’ve got someone there for you. And I’ll always be here for you, Pooh.’

And as Pooh sat there, working through in his head his Difficult Day, while the solid, reliable Piglet sat next to him quietly, swinging his little legs…he thought that his best friend had never been more right.