05:39PM, Wednesday 16 December 2020
A poignant remembrance service held online by Thames Hospice over the weekend has been viewed by thousands of people and raised vital funds for the Bray Lake charity.
The ‘Light up a Life’ (LUAL) service was streamed digitally for the first time on Sunday on both the hospice’s Facebook page and YouTube channel.
While it normally takes place at the hospice itself, the ceremony had to conform to virus restrictions but still enabled people to remember loved ones and enjoy carols and speeches from celebrity ambassadors and the hospice team.
A total of £75,000 has been donated to the LUAL appeal with more donations still coming in. More than 3,000 people have tuned in to the Facebook stream, while 1,244 have watched it on YouTube.
“It is obviously a very emotive service but we also wanted that uplifting message in it as well. I think we got that essence right,” said Stephanie Peters, head of marketing at Thames Hospice.
“Even though people absolutely love coming to the hospice because it is very meaningful for them, we have also reached out to an audience who potentially do not live nearby. And that is something we are going to think about next year.
“Our supporters have been so grateful that we have been able to host this in a different way.”
She added: “Everyone has really rallied around us. If people are still able to donate, they can via our website.”
Thames Hospice has also benefitted from two donations totalling more than £140,000.
The charity was awarded a ‘life line’ last month from charitable funders The Wolfson Foundation, which awarded it a £100,000 grant to support running costs.
The money was made available through the Foundation’s ‘COVID-19 Support Fund’.
Debbie Raven, Thames Hospice chief executive, said: “It has been a year like no other and while Thames Hospice has been able to support our community through the pandemic, we have been hit hard just like every other charity.
“Thanks to the support of the Wolfson Foundation, they have provided a life line and we are incredibly grateful for their quick and generous support to the hospice.”
Paul Ramsbottom, chief executive of the Wolfson Foundation, added: “This pandemic is a time of significant challenge and uncertainty for charities, and we hope our flexible funding shows solidarity as well as support for such a vital organisation.”
While on Monday this week, outgoing mayor Cllr Sayonara Luxton marked her last official engagement in post by presenting the hospice with a cheque for £40,194.
The money was raised by the mayor through her hosting of and participation in a variety of charitable events throughout her term.
Cllr Luxton said: “I’m thrilled to have had the privilege of fundraising for Thames Hospice and I want to express my deep gratitude to all those who donated, supported, or contributed in any way to helping me raise funds for this wonderful charity.”
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