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A North Derbyshire man whose wife of 50 years died earlier this year is supporting an event to remember loved ones this Christmas.  

Bernard Haigh’s wife Jeanette died from ovarian cancer in June this year, aged 72, after being cared for on our Inpatient Unit and at home by the hospice’s Palliative Care Specialist Nurses. 

He is among hundreds of people taking part in the hospice’s annual Light Up a Life campaign in December. 

Families are invited to dedicate a star in memory of their loved ones and make a donation to the hospice. 

Supporters, along with their family and friends, will also be invited to join the hospice in a service of celebration and remembrance in December, in the grounds of its Old Brampton site.   

The Light Up a Life service will include readings and songs, the switching on of Ashgate’s Christmas lights and a chance to reflect and celebrate the lives of loved ones.  

Bernard said: “With Jeanette I experienced the incredible care that Ashgate provides. 

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“It was difficult to watch Jeanette become increasingly unwell, but Ashgate Hospice could not have done more to support us. 

 “From the excellent community team who supplied us with a hospital bed, stairlift, a bathing facility and more whilst Jeanette was at home, to the incredible Inpatient Unit staff, who treated her with so much kindness and compassion. 

 “As a result of the care Jeanette was receiving, we were able to spend the time we had left making precious memories as a family. 

 “Jeanette dedicated her life to helping others. She was a special needs teacher and volunteered with many community groups and cancer charities to help people in need.  

 “I can’t think of a better way to remember her than by dedicating a star in her memory and donating to help other people who need Ashgate’s exceptional care.” 

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Due to COVID-19 restrictions, those wishing to attend the ceremony will receive an invite after dedicating a star. They will also receive a special pin badge, a card with a personalised dedication on it to keep with them wherever they go, and two Light up a Life stars, which they can choose to hang on their tree at home or on the hospice’s tree at its Hasland Furniture Store in Chesterfield. 

Those who dedicate a star via the Light up a Life website are also able to share a treasured photo of their loved one to feature on the star along with a special message that will appear in the virtual night sky.

Jack Wood, Head of Fundraising at Ashgate Hospice, said: “Although Christmas is a time to celebrate, we understand how difficult it can be for those who are missing someone special. 

“Light up a Life gives families like Bernard’s the chance to come together to celebrate and remember the life of their loved ones.  

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Ashgate Hospice's Light Up a Life service in 2019

“At the same time, it is an opportunity to support the hospice through another difficult winter to help us continue to provide our specialist, compassionate care to patients and their families across North Derbyshire. 

“After last year’s virtual-only ceremony, we are pleased to be able to invite supporters back to the hospice to take part in our special Light Up a Life service at our Old Brampton site. Of course, this has been carefully planned to adhere to the hospice’s strict COVID guidelines and will be held outside with those attending encouraged to wear masks.”

Following Jeanette’s death, thousands of pounds have been raised for Ashgate in her memory, thanks to the generosity of her family, friends and the people of Bolsover. 

Her grandchildren, Florence and Samuel, aged 11 and seven respectively, cycled 16-miles across Birmingham, raising more than £1,600. And the collection at Jeanette’s funeral helped raise more than £1,700 for the North Derbyshire charity too.  

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Florence and Samuel will feature as special guests at the Light up a Life ceremony as they will turn on Ashgate’s Christmas lights this year in honour of their grandmother. 

Now, Bernard is asking people across North Derbyshire to join him in dedicating a star in their loved one’s memory to support Ashgate through what the charity anticipates to be another difficult winter. 

For more information about Light Up a Life or to make a dedication in memory of someone, click here or call the Ashgate Fundraising Team on 01246 567250.  

Alternatively, if you would like to make your dedication in person, you can do so from Monday to Friday at Ashgate Hospice on Ashgate Road in Old Brampton or in your local Ashgate Hospice shop.