Support our Lights of Love Christmas appeal

Nursing auxiliaries Jennie Simons (left) and Chrissie Lakey hang their Lights of Love baubles. EMN-141113-133616001
Nursing auxiliaries Jennie Simons (left) and Chrissie Lakey hang their Lights of Love baubles. EMN-141113-133616001
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A charity is urging people, businesses, schools and organisations across the area to turn their Christmas trees into special Lights of Love trees.

This year Sue Ryder’s Thorpe Hall Hospice, which takes in patients from across the region including Stamford, Rutland and Bourne, is calling for businesses, shops, schools and churches to get involved with the festive fun and host their own Lights of Love tree.

The Mercury is supporting the appeal and we want you to tell us about your Lights of Love trees.

The festive campaign will help to raise the vital funds needed to go towards the £6m appeal, for the funding of a new hospice on the Longthorpe site in Peterborough, which recently reached its halfway mark.

Hospice fundraiser Kirsty Clipston said: “It’s the perfect way to wish your colleagues a happy Christmas without writing cards to everyone, to send a message to your customers or clients or just to make your tree the talk of the town!

“Staff, customers, clients, in fact anyone who passes the tree, can be invited to write their own seasonal greeting on a bauble and hang it on one of the branches, in exchange for a donation.”

The hospice will provide you with your own pack including a set of baubles, posters and flyers to explain how the Lights of Love tree works and a collection tin for donations.

Each of the baubles can be inscribed with a personal message written by staff, guests, customers and friends in exchange for a personal donation to be hung onto the Christmas tree.

All the donations will go to the Thorpe Hall Hospice Appeal and every Lights of Love Tree will get a special mention on the Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice Facebook and Twitter pages.

Volunteer Judy Francis, who was recently awarded the Sue Ryder outstanding contribution award, said: “It’s such a lovely thing to do and at the same time you’re supporting the Thorpe Hall Hospice Appeal and we desperately need a hospice, which I know we will get thanks to everyone’s kindness.”

Judy, 77, of Station Road, Barnack, received her award for more than two decades of “priceless” work at the hospice.

She founded the hospice’s Luncheon Club and organises monthly afternoon teas which, together, have raised over £300,000.

Each year the hospice displays its own Lights of Love tree, which becomes the centrepiece for the hospice’s seasonal celebrations.

The grand tree is traditionally hung with hundreds of baubles, each carrying messages of remembrance, greeting and love, from friends and families of current and former patients at the hospice.

This year’s celebration at Thorpe Hall will be held on December 14 and will be particularly poignant as it marks the final Christmas in Thorpe Hall.

To celebrate loved ones, there will be an open air carol concert in the ground of the hospice, followed by a spectacular firework display.

Judy said: “The campaign has been going on since Sue Ryder first started and it’s just grown and grown as an event over the years and people are always asking when it is.

“It’s absolutely wonderful and it’s a very a nice occasion for everybody to enjoy.”

For more information on how to turn your Christmas tree into a Lights of Love tree, call Kirsty on: 01733 225999 or email thorpe.fundraising@sueryder.org.

If you take part in the Lights of Love appeal call the Mercury newsdesk on 01780 758951 or e-mail a picture of your staff and tree to us at SMEditor@StamfordMercury.co.uk.

For more information about Thorpe Hall and the £6m appeal visit www.thorpehall.org.