Hundreds of Wiganers are expected to attend a poignant and moving ceremony to dedicate a Light for a Life tonight.
The annual event organised by Wigan and Leigh Hospice (WLH) is one of the most popular in the charity’s calendar as residents take time to think of those who have made a special impact on their lives.
A huge Christmas tree covered in thousands of lights, each representing a dedication, will be lit up in the grounds of the hospice’s Hindley headquarters this evening.
Those attending the ceremony at WLH’s Kildare Street base will also get into the festive mood with a soundtrack of Christmas music and carols sung by local primary school pupils and performed by a brass band.
Christine Edwardson, community fund-raiser for the hospice, said: “Light for a Life is a very special way to remember the life of a loved one or give thanks for those you love.
“Many people also see it as a way of giving thanks to the hospice and it forms such an important part of our fund-raising. We are thankful to everyone who makes a dedication and hope it means as much to you as it does to us.”
The ceremony will start with a welcome from WLH chief executive Dr Alan Baron and a few words from Rev David Hamlett.
The borough’s first citizen Coun Ron Conway, who is supporting the hospice as his mayoral charity this year, will do the honours and switch on the lights.
Children from the Keys Federation Academy Trust primary schools will show off their musical skills by leading renditions of several favourite Christmas carols, including Starry Night, Silent Night and We Wish You A Merry Christmas.
There will also be a chance for those attending to join in with renditions of a couple of carols and Trinity Girls Brass Band will perform a Christmas medley.
Dedications can still be made for Light For A Life and will be taken until the 12th night after Christmas.
Every name will be entered into a special book of dedications which is printed and kept at the hospice as a permanent tribute. The charity will arrange for previous books to be on display tomorrow.
Wiganers take part in Light for a Life for a wide variety of reasons, with people choosing to commemorate those who have died or remember ex-hospice patients but also celebrate happier occasions including new arrivals, weddings, milestone birthdays and important anniversaries.
Forms are available from Wigan and Leigh Hospice’s shops, GP and dentist surgeries across the borough and other locations. They can also be downloaded online at www.wlh.org.uk
A separate form should be filled out for each dedication.
The ceremony takes place tonight from 6.30pm.