Remembering loved ones at charity’s annual Christmas event

Left to right: Claire Lisle, Rosie Lisle, Robyn Thirlaway and Linzy Thirlaway.
Left to right: Claire Lisle, Rosie Lisle, Robyn Thirlaway and Linzy Thirlaway.

Family and friends who had lost loved ones came together to honour and remember them at a special event.

St Oswald’s Hospice held its annual Light up a Life Celebration event at the Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle where a 25ft Christmas tree was lit in memory of loved ones who have passed away.

Children prepare to light the Christmas tree at St Oswald's Hospice's Light up a Life.

Children prepare to light the Christmas tree at St Oswald's Hospice's Light up a Life.

More than £105,000 has been raised in 2018 through the campaign that invites people to donate and dedicate a light in memory of a loved one.

Guests arrived to the sounds of Robsons Choice and enjoyed music and song from Urban Chorus and Newcastle Concert Band throughout the evening. Children from the audience were invited to get involved by coming on stage to join in with a special version of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.

Rosie Lisle and her best friend Robyn Thirlaway, both aged seven, had the job of pressing the button to illuminate the thousands of twinkling lights on the Christmas tree. Both children attended the service with their families, who were remembering some very special people.

Rosie’s mother, Claire Lisle, from Cramlington, attends each year with her family to remember her mother, Linda Todd, as well as to support St Oswald’s Hospice.

But for Claire, and Robyn’s mum, Linzy, the hospice holds an extra special place in their hearts, as one of their best friends, Jenny Thirlaway received end of life care at St Oswald’s in July this year.

Claire said: “It will be 11 years this New Year’s Eve since mum died at the hospice, aged 52.

“We celebrate how lucky we were as a family to have her and remember her always, but especially at Light up a Life each year.

“It seems especially symbolic for us to come to the service given that she died at Christmas time.

“This year my friend Jenny also received phenomenal end of life care at St Oswald’s. We experienced again that the staff went over and above to support Jenny and her loved ones.

“It was so special for Rosie and Robyn to be able to light the tree. Rosie is remembering her Granny Linda and Robyn is here for her Grandma Joan.

“And of course, they both loved their Auntie Jenny very much, so being part of the service was a proud moment for them both.”

Katy Taberham, fundraiser at St Oswald’s, said: “Light up a Life is always a very special uplifting evening.”

“People come along every year to take a quiet moment and reflect during the busy Christmas season, and every penny raised in donations to the campaign goes to support local families at a difficult time.”