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Carys and Gwen light up the tree for thousands of loved ones this Christmas

Carys Evans, 8 and her sister Gwen, 4, from Bedlington will switch on the lights of our 25ft Christmas Tree at our Newcastle Light up a Life remembrance service at the Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle on Tuesday 12th December.

The girls and their father, Aled Evans, are remembering their mother and wife, Emma, who had sarcoma, a rare group of cancers and died in the Hospice in July after being admitted to the Inpatient Unit for end of life care. The family have continued to receive support from the Bereavement team at the Hospice since Emma’s death.

Aled said:

The care and support Emma received at St Oswald’s was amazing, but the staff and volunteers were there for me and my girls too. During Emma’s stay, it was Carys’ birthday, and everyone on the ward made the day so special. Emma was in a wheelchair and going home wasn’t an option for her so the staff and volunteers pulled out all the stops to organise a birthday party.


The support from St Oswald’s has continued after Emma’s death, and the children even see coming to see Brenda and Beth from the Bereavement Team as a day out. Gwen and Carys have benefitted from one-to-one sessions with the team, and group sessions with other children in similar situations. They have made memory boxes and drawings, and it’s good for them to know that they aren’t the only one who is going through the death of a parent.

Carys and Gwen are guests of honour at the Light up a Life service and have been given the important task of pushing the button to illuminate the 25ft Christmas tree covered in thousands of lights which shine in memory of loved ones.

Musical entertainment at the service, sponsored by Cooperative Funeralcare, will be provided by Robsons Choice, Urban Chorus and Newcastle Concert Band. Children from the audience will be invited to take to the stage and join in with a version of Jingle Bells during the service.

Aled finished:

It means a great deal to us to be asked to take part in the Light up a life service. It is a wonderful way for the girls to remember their mummy. Emma was always a 'Christmassy' person, wanting to get the decorations and tree up at the earliest opportunity, so this is the perfect way to remember her at this time of year. She would have been very jealous, but also very proud of the girls switching on the lights as that was her favourite thing to do!

Katy Taberham, Fundraiser at St Oswald’s said:

Light up a Life is always a very special uplifting evening.  People come along every year to take a quiet moment and reflect during the busy Christmas season, and every penny raised in donations to the campaign goes to support local families at a difficult time.

Everyone is welcome at Light up a Life, whether or not they have a connection with the hospice. The service in Newcastle starts at 6.30pm, with doors opening at 5.30pm.

A similar, smaller service takes place the day before, Monday 11th December,  at Berwick Baptist Church at 7pm, doors open at 6pm.