On Sunday 19th November 2023, a large group of Cherry Lodge Cancer Care supporters, members, volunteers and staff gathered outside the Cherry Lodge shop to hold our ‘Lights of Love’ ceremony. This special gathering is undoubtedly one of CL’s most important annual events. People are invited in advance to make a donation to sponsor a symbolic light to remember a loved one – often someone who has died but also others who might appreciate a simple token of love on a special occasion or in difficult times.
Cherry Lodge chairman, Dr Margaret Clark, began proceedings by welcoming the assembled crowd and explaining the order of events. As in previous years, there would be a mixture of music and readings. Thank you to Paul Constable for providing the p.a. system. The first song of the evening was “Climb Every Mountain”, a very appropriate choice beautifully sung by professional singer, Jane Rosenberg. This was followed by four very touching readings, given by people with different links to Cherry Lodge: Bobbi (a reception and fundraising volunteer); Harry (a CL member currently undergoing cancer treatment); Yvonne (CL volunteer coordinator); and Grant (CL trustee).
At the heart of the ceremony is the reading out of names of people to be remembered. This year the list of names was read entirely by Freddy because Sue, who usually shares this important role with her, was unable to attend due to her husband being unwell. As in previous years, people followed the instruction to light their glowsticks on hearing the name of the first person they wished to be remembered. This not only has the effect of producing an attractive dotting of lights, it also helps make the reading of names more personal and poignant. A minute’s silence was then announced by Margaret.
It was now time for a brighter mood – initiated by the lighting of our symbolic lights of love on the CL Christmas tree on a table in front of the shop. Once again, we thank our loyal patron, Theresa Villiers, MP for Chippping Barnet, for attending our ceremony and switching on the lights. The ceremony was brought to a close by a second song, another very appropriate CL favourite, “You’ll Never Walk Alone”, followed by the serving of delicious mince pies (or doughnuts) and mulled wine (or lemonade).
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