A little light will go a long way for a Sheffield charity this festive season.
Just as the nativity’s weary wise men were greeted by the star of the east when they rocked up in Bethlehem, rail passengers will be greeted by Sheffield’s very own version upon their arrival in the city in the countdown to Christmas.
The star sits atop a twinkling tree put up in the centre of the station as part of the annual Festival of Light, which raises cash for the city’s St Luke’s Hospice.
As Coun Vickie Priestley, the Lord Mayor of Sheffield pressed the plunger and declared ‘let there be light’, each tiny bulb which decorated the towering tree lit up the faces of the people which had gathered to witness the spectacle.
Coun Priestley said: “My father died from cancer and was cared for by St Luke’s, so I know just how important it is to Sheffield.”
The jingle bells of Oughtibridge Brass Band was the perfect accompaniment to the rattle of buckets as the fundraising got under way.
On top of spreading the festive cheer to visitors to the city, the festival is one of the most important fundraising events in the hospice’s calendar.
Visitors are being asked to dip their hand in their pocket and donate to St Luke’s, which needs to raise £4.5 million every year.
In spirit of the season of goodwill, the festival also offers bereaved families the chance to remember a lost loved one.
The Whirlow hospice’s grounds are decorated with tiny white lights at this time of year – each of which marks the memory of someone who received care there.
Kathryn Burkitt, St Luke’s fundraising manager, said: “Last year we raised about £40,000 and we’re hoping for something similar this year.
“On top of fundraising, the tree provides comfort for a lot of people who have lost someone.
“Not everyone comes to the hospice so this is our way of bringing the Festival of Light to the city centre.”