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Light up a Life appeal launched to support bereaved families this Christmas

Created by potrace 1.16, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2019

Thames Hospice has launched its Light up a Life Christmas fundraising appeal to help provide urgent support for more families like Tanya and her two young children, who are facing their first Christmas without Martin, their beloved husband and father.

Light up a Life is a special opportunity to remember loved ones who are no longer with us, and to raise funds for the Hospice to help patients and their families get the support they desperately need this Christmas and beyond.

Many of us have experienced loss in this challenging year, and have not been able to reflect and remember the lives of loved ones lost in the way we would want with friends and family. Thames Hospice is supporting more patients and families than ever before at its new facility by Bray Lake, with many families facing loss and bereavement.

Tanya's nine-year-old son, Tomas, and two-year-old daughter, Morena, will experience Light up a Life for the first time this year, remembering their Papa who sadly died just before the coronavirus pandemic took hold.

Tanya said: "No family should have to go through what we went through. In the space of 2019, we went from busy family life to being told that Martins cancer was stage four. By November we were told that there was nothing that could be done. Those days we spent at the Hospice were like home, not hospital. Tomas went twice to the hospital and hated it; he had to be dragged through the doors. At the Hospice he came straight in; he was completely comfortable. The lockdown has made all this so much harder, but the angels at Thames Hospice have made it bearable."

Sonia, Specialist Social Worker for Children and Families at Thames Hospice, is supporting Tanya and her family through their bereavement. Sonia said: "We are with families from the moment a patient is admitted, through illness, through death and through grief. Over these past few months, my team and I have worked from our homes and have seen the people we care for on the screen and on the phone, which has been incredibly difficult for them and for us, when there is such a need to be close by to hold a hand, or offer a hug.

"Supporting families has been incredibly difficult when many young children like Tomas and Morena have not only lost a parent, but also experienced anxiety and uncertainty as a result of the pandemic. I can tell you that our team have shed many tears this year as we travel this terrible journey with the families we care for."

Thames Hospice is honoured to have the continuing support of The Worshipful Mayor of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, Councillor Sayonara Luxton. Councillor Luxton said: "Our local community has been amazing in its support for the Hospice helping to fund the completion of the new facility by Bray Lake, and during the coronavirus pandemic. Thames Hospice needs its community now more than ever, as we need their care more than ever.

"Please donate what you can to help the Hospice continue to give light in darkness, providing care and dignity to families in need this Christmas. You are also invited to join the Hospice for its special annual Light up a Life remembrance service, which for the first time will be online this year."

The Hospices annual Light up a Life service is a special opportunity to pause at a busy time of year and remember loved ones who are no longer with us. The service normally takes place at the Hospice, but in light of current restrictions this will now be streamed online on Sunday 13 December 2020 at 4pm, for supporters to watch in the comfort of their own homes.

The service will include Christmas carols and musical performances from the Queen's Six, Tamesis choir and Windsor Boys and Girls School, and poems read by some of the charity's celebrity supporters. A service at home pack is available to order online via the Hospices website to accompany the service. This includes an order of service booklet, candle and a dedication card.

A Christmas tree and lights for the service have kindly been supplied by Berkshire business The Christmas Decorators for the Hospice by Bray Lake. Dave Hill, Managing Director at The Christmas Decorators Berkshire, says: "In 2019 we wanted to give something back to our community and started working with Thames Hospice, providing some lighting and tree decorations. Once we learned about this wonderful new hospice, we agreed to play our small part to help promote the launch for Christmas 2020. Last week we had some fun installing some temporary festive props, as well as installing Christmas lights ready for the Light up a Life service and festive season ahead.

"We are looking forward to many more years of growing our business in the Berkshire area and welcome all enquiries, residential and commercial because if it is Christmas related, we do it!"

For more information about The Christmas Decorators please click here.

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