Press Release

Speaker of NI Assembly Lights Up Hospice Appeal

Session: 2012/2013

Date: Monday, 10 December 2012

Reference: SO 04/12/13

Local charity Northern Ireland Hospice’s biggest annual fundraising appeal of the year was given an extra boost by the Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly, William Hay MLA. The tree positioned at the front of Stormont Buildings has been dedicated to the local charity in support of their Lights to Remember campaign.

The annual Lights to Remember appeal was established almost 30 years ago and its success is based on the support it gives bereaved families at Christmas time as well as helping secure funds for hospice care the following year.  In helping launch the charity’s Lights to Remember Appeal, the Speaker of the Assembly Willam Hay said:

“Christmas is a time of celebration but also a time to reflect on those most vulnerable in our society and less fortunate than ourselves. Charities like Northern Ireland Hospice will be working throughout the Christmas holidays to provide specialist nursing and end of life care to local adults, children and young people. The Christmas tree at the adult hospice in Somerton House and the dedicated tree in Parliament Buildings is a beacon of support to Northern Ireland Hospice, its donors and supporters and all the people in need of hospice care.”

The Lights to Remember appeal is the charity’s largest fundraising appeal of the year with a target of over £200,000.

Speaking about this year’s Lights to Remember Appeal, Northern Ireland Hospice Fundraising Manager, Joanna Pawson is delighted that the appeal will be so visible and hopes as many people as possible respond by sponsoring a light.

“The success of the Lights to Remember Appeal is based on the opportunity it gives individuals and families to remember loved ones. This year is particularly poignant as we are progressing plans to build a new hospice on the current Somerton Road site. We have a dedicated memory wall on the corridor of the inpatient unit were people are leaving messages of support and memories of the care their loved ones have received. What’s more important is that anyone can sponsor a light as an alternative gift or in memory.”

Now in its twenty eighth year, the charity founded by local people to care for local people has gone from caring for 98 patients to over 3,000 patients annually. Demand for hospice services continues to increase and the charity is now caring for a fifth of people who die in NI each year.  

The switch on of the Hospice Christmas tree at Somerton House will take place on Wednesday 19th December. It will begin with a short service at 7.30pm in Dominican College, Fortwilliam Park, Belfast BT15 4AP and is followed by a torchlight procession to Somerton House for the switch on of the lights in the grounds of the Adult Hospice at around 8.15pm. Over 1,000 people are expected to attend the annual event. Log onto to sponsor a light or tel: 028 90 777 123 for further information.  It is hoped that by Christmas Eve the tree at Somerton Road will be full of lights sponsored in memory of loved ones. 

Notes to Editors:

Media enquiries contact: Claire Trainor, Northern Ireland Hospice on 07814 038365 or Sarah Scullion 07912 046100.  

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