The Cherry Lodge Cancer Care ‘Lights of Love’ ceremony is one of our charity’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 token of love on a special occasion or support in difficult times. The sharing of comfort, support and fellowship are at the ceremony’s heart.
Our 2022 event was held on Sunday 27th November, once again at The Spires. Sadly arrangements did not go smoothly at the outset. Despite the best efforts of Tina and her team of helpers, the venue presented some serious challenges. In spite of having agreed a start time of 4.30pm with Cherry Lodge, administrators at The Spires had apparently failed to ask several large food vans to leave early to clear the space around the bandstand. Even more disappointing for some people was the fact that there were no lights on the bandstand waiting to be lit – our beautiful set of lights had been lost in a storage area at The Spires!
Clearly there was no option but to go ahead with a few adjustments made to the programme. Margaret Clark, chairman of the Cherry Lodge trustees, began by welcoming everyone and outlining the order of events. Tina then explained the difficult situation at The Spires and showed great resilience in leading her team to keep the event on track.
As always, the ceremony included both music and readings. Thank you to Paul Constable for providing the p.a. system. Four carols were sung (admittedly with some difficulty by the less musically talented attendees) during the course of the evening. There were also four well chosen readings, given by Ruth (CL trustee), Mark (CL volunteer, who read a very apt poem written by fellow CL volunteer, Bob), Shirley (CL nurse staff member) and Bobbi (volunteer). Particularly beautiful and touching was the rendition by Dionne of a song, with words and music written by a friend, that she had also sung recently at her mother’s memorial service, which had been sadly delayed from 2021 due to the pandemic.
The most moving part of the ceremony was heralded, as last year, by the distribution of glowsticks. Two faithful volunteers, Freddy and Sue, then read out the long list of names of people to be remembered. As they read, people followed the instruction to light their glowsticks on hearing the name of the first person they had wished to be remembered. This not only produces an attractive scattering 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 the mood to lighten. As mentioned above, there were no lights to be lit on the bandstand. However, our resourceful event organiser had procured a Christmas tree bearing lights. Theresa Villiers, MP for Barnet and a Cherry Lodge patron, again showed her loyalty to our charity by attending our ceremony and agreeing to switch on the lights – which she did with great aplomb. The tree has been taken to Howard House and its lights will shine on in reception until January.
The ceremony came to its end and people then stayed on for a while to chat and enjoy delicious mince pies and and mulled wine.
Click on the small images below to see larger, complete photographs.