Volunteer Sue urges others to Light up a Life

Photo of volunteer Sue Stokes

For information about this year’s Light up a Life appeal, please visit the updated Light up a Life page.

A hospice volunteer who dedicates a light to the memory of her loved ones every Christmas is urging others to join in this beautiful act of remembrance.

Sue Stokes has volunteered at Barnsley Hospice for more than 12 years and helps to write the commemorative cards for people who take part in the hospice’s annual Light up a Life campaign.

Light up a Life invites hospice supporters to dedicate a light to someone’s memory on their special trees which stand outside the hospice and at St Mary’s church in the town centre. Donations to patient care are made with each dedication.

Sue makes her own dedications each year, including one to her sister Christine who died in a road accident 26 years ago, aged just 40, and one to her husband Ron who died suddenly of a heart attack five years later, aged 69.

Sue said: “My husband left home with a kiss and a wave goodbye that morning and died an hour later. My sister was killed in an accident leaving behind two daughters aged 14 and ten.

“I think of them constantly but especially at Christmas by taking part in Light up a Life. It gives me the opportunity every year to memorialise them. When the trees are lit up, the impact is beautiful. I search for the little glows of light which stand out and mean something to me and I always find them.”

Many people who dedicate a light to a loved one also request a commemorative card and Sue has always volunteered to write these cards.

Sue, who lives in Gawber, said: “When I write the names of other people’s loved ones in a Light up a Life card I do this with great care and take time. Just writing the name is significant and recognises that person’s value. It remembers them and acknowledges how much they mean to someone.”

Sue started volunteering at Barnsley Hospice, in part, because of her own bereavements and says Light up a Life is also a very meaningful way to support the charity’s work with the donations which accompany dedications.

Sue said: “The hospice supports families going through terrible times every day of the year and Christmas is the time when we can all show our support, whilst at the same time thinking about the people we have lost and those who mean so much to us.”

The hospice’s Light up a Life service, at which its special trees are lit, will be shared online again this year due to COVID-19 precautions. It will be available to view via the hospice’s website from Sunday December 12th. Supporters can choose to receive a home pack containing a commemorative card, candle, tree decoration and badge to help them experience the service of music and readings in the comfort of their own homes.

All dedications will also be recorded in the hospice’s 2021 ‘Book of Remembrance’ and this will be available to view at St Mary’s Church, weekdays, 9am – 4pm from December 13th until Friday January 6th; and also at the hospice on Saturday January 8th, 4pm – 8pm and Sunday and Monday January 9th and 10th 9am – 4pm.

Please make your dedications before November 28th to be included in the book which is on display (all other dedications will be added afterwards).

(Please wear a mask when visiting the hospice.)

This popular book of dedications was not available to view last year due to the Covid-19 restrictions and the hospice is pleased to revive this tradition for 2021.

To find out more, and make a dedication, see our Light up a Life page or email fundraising@barnsley-hospice.org.

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