Richard Coles Visits St Wilfrid’s Hospice

‘A light full of hope and possibility’  

We were delighted to welcome Reverend Richard Coles to the building in October to make a dedication to his partner, David, for our upcoming Lights of Love event. 

Lights of Love is a time to come together as a community and remember those we love who have died. You can make a donation and dedicate a star to your loved one, which will be hung on the hospice’s tree, and there will be seven services taking place in Eastbourne and the surrounding areas throughout December. Two of these services will be taking place at the hospice itself on the evenings of Sunday 11th and Wednesday 14th December. 

The Madness of Grief 

Reverend Coles, who first came to prominence with the eighties band the Communards, is a former Church of England parish priest. He now co-presents BBC Radio 4’s Saturday Live show and has written several books including ‘The Madness of Grief’, his personal account of life after David’s death. 

‘As a vicar, I suppose I thought of myself as a grief expert, simply because bereavement was part of my working day. When I became bereaved myself, it came as a total shock because it was me on the inside of it rather than on the outside of it. Often when you lose someone you want to hold on to them as much as you can, so one of the things I did is started writing down what I was experiencing,’ he told us about his book. 

‘I understand why people shy away from the subject of death because it’s difficult, but what I wanted to do with the book was write an unvarnished account as possible. When someone is dying you often feel very uncertain, but it’s important that we know what’s what.’ 

Lights of Love 

The festive season can be difficult for many people who are bereaved. Richard is particularly aware of this as David died just before Christmas in 2019 and through his work as a parish priest. 

‘For many, Christmas is about the gathering of families and the reassertion of the bonds of love that tie us together. When you’ve lost someone that can be difficult. But Christmas is about light and darkness. It’s about the realities of a hard world and then suddenly something happens; a light begins to burn which is full of hope and the possibility of transformation,’ he said. 

‘If you can light your light and remember the person you love, lots of other people will be doing that too and that’s like stars on a dark night. I think that is quite a beautiful thing.  

‘There’s never a bad time of year to support your local hospice because it does such extraordinary work, but Christmas especially is a time of giving. It’s also a time of coming together, sometimes in very difficult circumstances. If you can give a gift of love at Christmas that would be great.’  

Click here to watch the full Lights of Love interview with Revd Richard Coles. You will also be able to find full details of the Lights of Love services and how you can donate. 

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