Add your loved one's name to Isabel Hospice Lights of Love ceremony
A charity is offering the bereaved a special chance to remember their lost loved one in Bishop's Stortford this Christmas.
Isabel Hospice's seven annual Lights of Love ceremonies around the East Herts, Welwyn Hatfield and Broxbourne districts – including the gathering in Market Square on Sunday, December 1 – will for the first time feature a printed programme containing the names of those being commemorated.
The Stortford ceremony will have readings and a choir singing a selection of favourite carols before the town's Christmas tree lights in Market Square are switched on.
Isabel Hospice needs to raise £16,000 every day, including Christmas Day, to carry on providing free care to East Herts residents.
Every dedication helps. Lou Nelmes, of Thorley Park, will be commemorating Bill, her partner of more than 20 years, as she faces her sixth Christmas without him.
She said: "Even though Bill died five years ago, I miss him every day."
His illness began with a simple pain in his thigh. "Whatever treatment he had – painkillers, injections – it just wouldn't shift," explained Lou.
"He started to lose weight and was just so tired all the time. After two years I said we really needed to try and get to the bottom of it, so we went to the GP together for a review of his medication. As a sort of afterthought really, the GP decided to do a chest X-ray."
A large mass was discovered on Bill's lungs.
Lou said: "From then on there were scans and more tests. At one point we thought he may be able to have chemo, but the scans showed the cancer had spread to his brain and his pancreas. It was too late for treatment and we were devastated.
"This is where Isabel Hospice stepped in. We were visited at home by their doctor and a clinical nurse specialist. She sorted everything for us, from blue badges to helping us with paperwork. When you're in the midst of that awful news, you need Isabel in your life."
The charity continued helping after Bill's death.
Lou said: "The family support team helped both me and our children with counselling sessions and support in the following months. They're all amazing, kind, compassionate and there when we needed them."
Bill was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer on July 3, 2014 and died two months later on September 3 – Lou's birthday and their foster daughter's first day at secondary school. He was 63.
"Life will never be the same without Bill," said Lou. "We all miss him more than we can say but hope to find comfort at the Isabel Hospice Lights of Love ceremony in Bishop's Stortford and will be dedicating a light in his memory to help the hospice raise more money to help families like ours, devastated by our loss."
The last date for names to be added to the programme is Friday, November 8 at 5pm. For more details, see www.isabelhospice.org.uk/lightsoflove.
Isabel Hospice Lights of Love ceremonies
Van Hage Garden Centre, Great Amwell, near Ware, SG12 9RP – Saturday November 16, 3.30pm.
Welwyn Garden City
The Green, Campus West, Welwyn Garden City, AL8 6BX – Sunday November 24, 3.30pm.
The Manor House, High Street, Buntingford, SG9 9AB – Friday November 29, 5.30pm.
Hertford Castle, Water Lane, Hertford, SG14 1HR – Saturday November 30, 3.30pm.
Market Square, Bishop's Stortford, CM23 3UU – Sunday December 1, 3.30pm.
Hatfield House, Hatfield, AL9 5NB – Thursday December 5, 6pm.
Halsey Masonic Hall, Walnut Tree House, Turners Hill, Cheshunt, EN8 8NJ – Saturday December 7, 3.30pm.