The annual Lights of Love Ceremony has a very special place on the Cherry Lodge Cancer Care calendar. This year’s event, held at the bandstand to the rear of The Spires shopping centre in Barnet, began soon after dark on Sunday 9th December 2018.
The ceremony was was led by Cherry Lodge’s own MC (Margaret Clark, chairman of the trustees). Margaret opened the proceedings by outlining the purpose of the event – to remember loved ones who are no longer with us, to celebrate our love for others who are are alive but perhaps in need of help and support, and also, this year, to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War 1, which claimed so many lives and adversely affected so many others.
The ceremony followed its usual pattern, with songs from the Cherry Lodge Singers alternating with a series of readings. Trevor, an ex-army CL member, and Shirley, one of CL’s cancer information nurses, read well-known World War 1 poems, ‘In Flanders Fields’ by John McCrae and ‘For the Fallen’ by Laurence Binyon. Ruth, a CL trustee, then read a more modern poem, ‘Instructions’ by Arnold Crompton, offering comfort to the bereaved. Finally, Peter, a healer at CL, read out a moving letter – written in France in 1915 and found this year in a friend’s attic – to a brother from a soldier who would be killed in action the next day.
Sue, a CL volunteer (without her usual helper, Freddy, who is indisposed) then read out the names of the people chosen for special remembrance and for whom, through the giving of donations, a symbolic light would be lit on the bandstand. This was followed by a minute’s silence.
The mood then changed in an instant, with the switching on of the lights. Thank you again to Theresa Villiers, local MP and a CL patron, for finding the time to attend this ceremony and switch on the lights for us. People then gathered in and around the beautifully lit bandstand to chat and enjoy mulled wine, orange juice and mince pies.
The bandstand lights will be on each day until January.
Click on the small images below to see larger, complete photographs.