Loved ones remembered at Northern Ireland Hospice Lights to Remember service

20 December 2019

Carrickfergus family switch on the Hospice Christmas tree lights

Over 1,000 families from across Belfast and beyond gathered this evening for the annual Northern Ireland Hospice Lights to Remember service.

Now in its 25th year, Lights to Remember provides an opportunity for families to come together to remember their loved ones by dedicating a light on the Hospice Christmas tree. In the lead up to the event, thousands of personal messages and stories poured into the Hospice in memory of friends and relations. Every single message has been placed on a tag and will be displayed on the Hospice Christmas tree over the festive period.

Northern Ireland Hospice President, Paul Clark, hosted the service at Dominican College, Fortwilliam and afterwards hundreds of people made their way to the Hospice in a beautiful candlelit procession to see the lighting of the Christmas tree.

Paul Clark spoke about the event, “It’s truly an honour to host this special event as losing someone you love is something we can all relate to. Lights to Remember allows us all to take a moment to pause during this busy time. The atmosphere during the event is very unique and I would encourage people to come along next year. It is an uplifting, poignant event that connects everyone who attends.”

This year, the lights were switched on by Tanya Philips and her two daughters, Ruby and Hollie, from Carrickfergus. The Phillips family wanted to take part in the ceremony in memory of their father and grandfather, William Haggan who received specialist palliative care at home by the Northern Ireland Hospice Community Nursing Team.

Northern Ireland Hospice Chief Executive, Heather Weir said: “This Christmas, many people will be missing someone they have lost. Our annual Lights to Remember service provides an opportunity to come together to remember loved ones with the support of people who have shared a similar experience.

“Every year, I am humbled by the level of support and love that is shown to the Northern Ireland Hospice and the work that we do. The generosity of people across Northern Ireland is incredible, as Northern Ireland Hospice only receives 30% funding from Government we rely on this goodwill more than ever. I want to take this opportunity to thank each and every person who contributed not only to Lights to Remember but throughout the year to ensure we can keep delivering a high standard of care to over 4,000 infants, children and adults every year”.