WHEN bride-to-be Kate Wilson found out her rearranged wedding fell on the same day as Dr Kershaw’s Light Up a Life event, she decided to make the poignant event part of her big day in memory of her mum.
Kate was originally supposed to marry her fiancé Iain Richards on November 14 but due to the second lockdown, they instead had a small service with just 15 guests on December 6 at St Bartholomew Church, Marsden.
After the service, Kate and Iain had their first dance outside under the lychgate and then headed home for a takeaway and to watch Dr Kershaw’s Light Up a Life service at 7pm.
Each year the Royton-based Hospice holds the service to give people the opportunity to remember their loved ones during the festive period, no matter their faith, culture or connection to the Hospice.
Those who make a dedication have a light lit in memory of their loved ones on the Hospice’s dedication tree and have a special place in Light Up a Life Book of Remembrance.
Kate commented: “By lighting the tealight, watching her name come up on the screen and seeing the tree light up, I felt so connected with mum. It really did feel like she was there on our Wedding Day.”
Kate’s gran was cared for in the Hospice’s In-Patient Unit back in 1999 and her mum supported the Hospice by making a Light Up a Life dedication each year and signing up as a lottery member, until she passed away recently.
Kate has since carried on the lottery membership along with the tradition of making a Light Up a Life dedication, this year remembering her mum, gran and grandad.
“Perhaps it was fate that we had to move our wedding to the same day as Dr Kershaw’s Light Up a Life, so that mum could be a part of our day too,” Kate said.
“I wore a necklace with Mum’s ashes in, she was in our thoughts for the whole service and I’m sure she was watching us and smiling.
“Light Up a Life means so much to me. Having my wedding on the same night almost felt like my family were there with me. It made the whole day even more special.
“It was also the wedding anniversary of Iain’s grandparents, so it was a very important date to him too.”
The couple are now looking forward to their first Christmas as newlyweds and have an exciting 2021 ahead as their first child is due in February – a baby boy to be named after Iain’s grandad.
Despite the change in format for Light Up a Life to a virtual service due to the pandemic, Dr Kershaw’s Hospice received a record breaking £26,000 in donations made in memory of loved ones.
Grace Carr, the Hospice’s Digital Marketing and Events Executive has been responsible for planning the event.
She said: “The physical event which previously took place at the Hospice has always been so well attended, so the concern from the beginning of planning a virtual event was that it wouldn’t have the same impact for the community.
“However, we have been completely overwhelmed by the support for our first ever virtual Light Up a Life Service, with over 1,200 dedications made to loved ones and over 3,400 households tuning in.
“Thank you to everyone who has supported Light Up a Life by making a dedication. It means so much to us to know that the event is so special to so many of you. It was so touching to hear that Light Up a Life made Kate’s big day even more special.”
If you missed Dr Kershaw’s Hospice’s Light Up a Light event it is still available to watch on their website: www.drkh.org.uk
Dr Kershaw’s Hospice provides free, specialist, end-of-life and palliative care for adults with life-limiting illnesses in Oldham and its surrounding areas in a peaceful and homely environment.
Dr Kershaw’s is partially funded by the Oldham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), circa £1.13m per year, but the majority of the £3.6m annual budget is supported by fundraising activities, donations, legacies, income from the Hospice shops and revenue from the Hospice lottery.
To find out more about Dr Kershaw’s Hospice, visit www.drkh.org.uk or call 0161 624 2727.