Hundreds join Rowans Hospice remembrance night

(left to right) 'Santa' Dan Greasley (47) and  'Santa' Percy Phelps carries another tray of 'lights' onto the water at Canoe Lake'' ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (133592-4828)
(left to right) 'Santa' Dan Greasley (47) and 'Santa' Percy Phelps carries another tray of 'lights' onto the water at Canoe Lake'' ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (133592-4828)
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HUNDREDS of candles lit up Canoe Lake as people came to remember loved ones who have passed away.

Men and women dressed as Santa waded into the water with trays of electronic tea lights, each one placed by a family member or friend of someone who was cared for by The Rowans Hospice.

Carole Spence, 62, of Wesley Grove, in Copnor, was with her family to remember husband John, 68, who died on June 1 this year after suffering with bowel cancer.

‘This is our first Christmas without him and we went to a memorial service for him at St Mary’s last week,’ she said.

‘The Rowans looked after him brilliantly, they were so kind. And also they looked out for me and my daughter while we were there.

‘He spent his last two weeks there. I can’t praise them enough.

‘This is to remember John. It means so much, you never forget. It’s just little things like this that help you remember more.’

Carole was with daughter Clare Spence, 28, and John’s niece Debbie Spence, 25. His brother Bob, 74, sister Pat Rock, 62, and her husband Alan, 62, were also at the moving service.

Christmas carols, including Silent Night, were sung as around 900 people looked out to the lake, which was alight with candles.

Each of John’s family had placed a candle on the lake.

Pat added: ‘When I came down here and saw the people and heard the carols... it brings a little tear to your eye. We wish that he was still here.

‘It’s too touching to think of. But it’s a lovely thing though. It’s nice to be able to remember him.

‘We’ll make a point of coming all the time we can.’

It was the second time the annual Light up a Life was held at Canoe Lake, in Southsea.

Hospice chairman Ian Young said: ‘It’s a great event, because Christmas is such a family time.

‘It’s a great opportunity for families to come here and remember people who aren’t with them any more.’