Doves fly for loved ones at annual service

Portchester Memorial Gardens held their annual Christmas Remembrance Service on Sunday afternoon. Twenty four doves were released at the start of the service.''Picture: Sarah Standing (124085-8270)
Portchester Memorial Gardens held their annual Christmas Remembrance Service on Sunday afternoon. Twenty four doves were released at the start of the service.''Picture: Sarah Standing (124085-8270)

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TWO dozen doves took to the sky during the Portchester Memorial Gardens Christmas remembrance service.

The birds were symbols of loved ones lost over the years, as more than 1,000 people gathered at the gardens for the annual service.

Rowans Hospice chaplain Lance Blake led the short service, which included singing from the Fareham Philharmonic Choir and the 50-Plus Singers.

And Karina Hind, 19, sang a solo rendition of Ave Maria.

After the service, families and friends lit lanterns and placed them by memorials for their loved ones.

Angela Palmer of Purbeck Drive in Fareham lit a candle for her mother Cynthia King who died in March 2011 and said: ‘My mother lived in the same house in Cornaway Lane for all her married life. You can almost see the house from here, so it’s a fitting spot.’

Husband Tony added: ‘The timing of it just before Christmas, it’s a time for remembrance and reflection, it’s nicely balanced.’

Terry Pannell, of Albemarle Avenue in Gosport, was there for her mother Beryl Rowen who died in June 2011 aged 89. She said: ‘It’s a lovely service and it’s nice to see everyone get together and paying their respects.’

Julie Hind, the gardens’ director, said: ‘It’s fantastic, the number of people that come here and share in remembering their loved ones at Christmas, which is what it’s all about.

‘At the end of the service and after people leave you can see all the remembrance lights flickering and I’m very moved by it all.’