Christmas tree outside hospice at night time

Hundreds of people across the city, county and nationwide tuned in to Treetops Hospice Care’s first virtual memorial service on Sunday 6 December.

It’s the first time that Treetops has been unable to host its annual Light Up a Life service on site due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.

The service included readings, poems and music and a moment of quiet reflection for viewers to remember a loved one who has died, either during the Coronavirus pandemic, or in previous years.

In the lead up the service, over 600 people made online dedications raising over £24,000 for the hospice which provides nursing care and emotional support for adults with life-limiting conditions, those who’ve been bereaved, and their families.

Christmas tree lit up at nightThe dedications shone as lights on the hospice Christmas tree switched on during the service.

This year is especially poignant

Treetops Chief Executive, Julie Heath, said:

“Light Up a Life is a really special event in the Treetops calendar. It’s an opportunity for us to take a few moments to remember someone special in our lives, reflect on the happier times we’ve shared and watch as the lights on our tree shine in their memory.

“We anticipated that this year would be especially poignant as we have faced significant losses in our local communities and it has been hard for people to grieve, distanced from family and friends.

“It’s wonderful that so many people made personal dedications and donations to the hospice, and also joined us for the service.”

The service was filmed and editing by Derby-based digital marketing agency Think3.

Annie Tierney and her family from Ockbrook, made a dedication and watched the service remembering Annie’s mum, Josie.

I felt very privileged and blessed to have the time with her

Josie’s diagnosis of aggressive Stage 4 gall bladder cancer just four months before her death was a ‘a bolt out of the blue’. Annie explained what happened next:

“I moved in with mum to help care for her, around my family and jobs. It was draining and stressful and a worry as I hadn’t ever cared for anybody like this before. Watching mum deteriorate day to day was heart breaking but I felt very privileged and blessed to have the time with her.”

A young Annie Tierney and mum

A young Annie Tierney and mum

Treetops Hospice Care Hospice at Homes nurses helped care for Josie during the night, so Annie could take a much-needed break.

The nurses were literally angels

“Having somebody with me allowed me to have a rest and an expert around to call upon. It made a huge difference and it was such a relief and comfort to know I wasn’t on my own, especially through the nights.

“When the nurses came in the last few days, they made me feel safe and helped prepare me for mum’s death. They were with her when she died and helped me by calling the doctor and the undertaker, and cleaning and dressing her.

“The nurses were literally angels that, at a difficult time, I could not have done without.”