For many, Christmas is about making happy memories with family and friends, but if you’ve lost a loved one you sometimes miss them even more during the festivities, and this time of year can feel particularly challenging.

As part of its annual Light up a Life campaign, St Luke’s Hospice Plymouth is offering people the opportunity to celebrate the life of a special person no longer with them by dedicating a light on the display that will adorn its specialist unit at Turnchapel this December. Both this and the chance to dedicate a bauble on the charity’s Christmas tree at the unit are available to anyone, regardless of whether their loved one received St Luke’s end of life care.

Light is symbolic of hope in the midst of difficult circumstances, and the lights on the outside of the unit and baubles on the tree in ‘The View’ conservatory at Turnchapel will shine for patients and their families to enjoy this Christmas period.

St Luke’s is also inviting those who’ve lost someone close to join with others in similar circumstances at its uplifting Light up a Life services in December.

These joyous services are taking place at churches across the area. This year’s programme starts with a service at Saltash Wesley Methodist Church on Wednesday 5 December, at 7pm, and is followed by services at Tavistock St Eustachius Church on Thursday 6 December, at 7pm, and the Minster of St Andrew’s, Plymouth, on Tuesday 18 December, at 2pm, 5.30pm and 7.30pm.

Those wishing to attend do not need to register or have tickets. There is the opportunity to give voluntary donations on the day.

As is annual tradition, hospice volunteers and keen runners will carry a lit torch all the way from St Luke’s specialist unit at Turnchapel to the Minster of St Andrew’s to light the large candles inside, which are in turn used to light smaller candles held by the congregation.

Rebecca Kelly, Events Fundraiser at St Luke’s, said: “While Christmas is a special time, we know it can often be tinged with sadness when you’ve lost someone dear. It’s traditional for St Luke’s to help people who want to celebrate the life of a lost loved one, and dedicating a light or a bauble are lovely ways to do that and also make a difference to those who need our specialist care.

“In addition, our beautiful Light up a Life services are an opportunity for people who’ve lost loved ones to come together to reflect, celebrate those lives and share their memories.”

It is estimated that over the Christmas week, around 350 patients will be receiving specialist end of life care from St Luke’s as part of the 3,531 patients they treat each year. Donations from the community raised by these and other events support terminally ill people wherever they wish to be cared for – in their homes, at Derriford Hospital or at Turnchapel.

Light up a Life is kindly sponsored by Western Power Distribution.