FACES were shining bright at St Luke’s Hospice in Sheffield when thousands of pounds were raised at its annual Festival of Light.
Some 11,000 lights were switched on at last night’s ceremony at the Whirlow hospice, raising £37,000 for the charity and taking the total tally for the last 15 years to £500,000.
Each light was dedicated to lost loved ones, with the hospice and it’s trees decked out with white twinkling bulbs.
Hundreds gathered at the hospice to see the lights illuminated in memory of family their family and friends.
Coun John Campbell, Lord Mayor of Sheffield, and Lady Anne Neill, hospice president,switched on the lights with police officer Craig Stent, a day patient at the hospice.
The 49-year-old, from Rivelin, a member of South Yorkshire Police’s major incident team, said it was an honour to play a part in the ceremony and donated £350 raised by his colleagues.
He said: “The hospice means everything to me. It has been a huge part of my recovery and rehabilitation.
“The staff and volunteers make St Luke’s what it is. They treat you as a person not a number. And they treat families with dignity at difficult times.”
Audrey Rose, chairman of St Luke’s Action Committee, volunteers who have organised the Festival of Light for 15 years, said: “We never expected the festival to grow from strength to strength in the way it has, and to have 11,000 lights dedicated to loved ones shows how special this has become to so many people.”
Donna and Stewart Monks and Sandra Moore, from Low Edges, Sheffield, dedicated lights to their friend Kim St Clair, who recently spent her last days at the hospice.
Donna said: “We used to visit Kim here and it is a wonderful place. The staff and volunteers are amazing.
“To be able to remember a friend and raise money at the same time is very special.”
Holymoorside brass band played at the ceremony and a choir, made up of doctors, nurses, staff and volunteers, led carol singing once the lights were illuminated.
The hospice, which care for adults of all ages throughout Sheffield who have life-limiting illnesses, is 40 years old and was the first one to open outside London.
It is trying to raise £5 million for a revamp, including a new wing.