THEY were pinpricks of light, all 2,000 of them, reflecting off the surface of Southsea’s Canoe Lake.
And the candles, carefully placed in floating trays, each represented someone who had passed away.
Around 3,000 people were at the Light up a Life service last night, organised by The Rowans Hospice.
With emotion visible on their faces, they collected their candles from volunteers and made their way to the water’s edge, where more volunteers were waiting to put them in the trays.
One woman, who didn’t want to be named, said she was lighting her candle for her father, who died in August.
She said: ‘Me and my sister and my mum have come down to light a candle for him,’ she said.
Sisters Liz Collins and Kate Meech were at the lake to light candles for their parents, who died within four months of each other, both at The Rowans, six years ago.
Liz said: ‘This way we feel we’ve done something for charity, rather than just getting flowers.’
The service was led by Lance Blake, The Rowans Hospice chaplain, with Portsmouth City Band and the Solent City Chorus, The Havant Pitchpipers and Folks-in-Harmony providing the music and carols.
As the verses of Silent Night rang out around the lake, many remembered their loved ones who would not be able to share their Christmas, and a minute’s silence was held for reflection.
Portsmouth’s Lord Mayor Frank Jonas was at the service.
He said: ‘We’re very blessed that we have this wonderful location with which to do this.
‘It’s fantastic to be able to have something like this in the city.’
Amanda Mahoney, of The Rowans Hospice, said: ‘This event was originally run by Friends of Radiotherapy, and we had ours in Guildhall Square with lights on a Christmas tree.
‘But they asked us to take this over, saying how popular it is, and they were right.
‘I think the lights floating on the lake are so beautiful and we know that to be able to do this means so much to people, not just people who have used The Rowans Hospice.’