DOZENS of twinkling candles shone as people gathered to remember young people who have died.
Families touched by the work of the Naomi House & Jacksplace hospices for children and young adults took part in a Christmas carol remembrance service in Fareham.
The Winchester hospice has held the Light Up a Life service at St Peter and St Paul Church in Osborn Road every year since 2005.
Father Roger Jackson, who recently joined the church, led the service for the first time last night.
Afterwards, he said: ‘For some parents, the memory of the loss of a child is something that really does need to be recognised. If we can do that, and encourage people to appreciate the contribution of the hospice, I think that has to be a good thing.
‘The candles at this event pierce the darkness but coming together, the darkness is overcome by light.
‘There is that encouragement to help and to remember and to know the fact that standing together, there is strength.
‘It is lovely to have been part of this celebration. It has been a wonderful privilege for me to take part.
‘The memories of these children needs to be celebrated and recognised and Christmas is a good time to do that.’
Mary Ramsay organises the event each year and is a volunteer fundraiser and chairwoman of the local community group for Naomi House.
She said: ‘The service is for families who have been touched by Naomi House. We have it every year in this church and we invite children from St Jude’s School. We hold it as a remembrance service because it is a children’s hospice and children who attend the hospice sadly die throughout the year. The children who use the hospice have life-limiting conditions.
‘You can guarantee who will be in the congregation every year. It is often the same familiar faces who come to remember their child and to celebrate their life.’