Canoe Lake is transformed into a shimmering sea of remembrance for The Rowans Hospice's poignant ceremony

THOUSANDS remembered their loved ones in a '˜spectacular' and '˜moving' Lake of Lights service tonight.

Friday, 16th December 2016, 8:20 pm
Updated Saturday, 17th December 2016, 9:41 am
Back from left, Sheena Del Piccolo, 42, from Southsea, with her mum Fay Osborne, 70, dad David Osborne, 84, husband Daniel Del Piccolo, 39, and their children Joel, six, and Ella, 10 Picture: Sarah Standing (161710-9406)

More than 3,000 people congregated by Canoe Lake in Southsea for The Rowans Hospice’s poignant service, in which candles were lit by hundreds of families as they remembered those who have passed away.

A sea of candles was guided into the middle of the lake before a sparkling light show took place as festive carols were sung around the lake.

Each light on the lake represented the cherished memory of a loved one who is no longer with us and families watched in unison as the service played out.

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Peter Stafford, 72, from Southsea, left, places his light in one of the trays. Picture: Sarah Standing (161710-9424)

It was an emotional time for Christie Barrett, from Portsmouth, whose sister passed away three years ago.

She said: ‘I’ve been coming every year to pay tribute to her and to light a candle.

‘It was a very touching service and it is really beautiful when all the lights are there out on the lake and the carols are being sung.

‘It’s also important to raise awareness of The Rowans Hospice, which does such a great job.’

The choir during the carols. Picture: Sarah Standing (161710-4996)

Councillor Ken Ellcome, Deputy Lord Mayor of Portsmouth praised the event.

He said: ‘It really is such a lovely thing to do for people. It really is touching.

‘It also looks fantastic, as all those candles create such a spectacular sight when they are out on the lake. It is important that we raise awareness for Rowans Hospice as they do absolutely magnificent work that must be praised’

The service itself was short and poignant with various choirs and members of the hospice joining together to lead the carols which included festive songs such as Silent Night and Hark, the Herald Angels Sing.

Picture: Sarah Standing (161710-4975)

Ruth White, chief executive of the Rowans Hospice said: ‘This is a very special event for us and I thought it all looked absolutely beautiful tonight and I can’t thank those who came along enough.

‘It was very heartwarming and touching and I hope it provided support for those who were looking to remember their loved ones.’

The event was sponsored by Unite the Union and Avril Eley of the trade union added: ‘It was a fantastic service and it’s important that it’s held so people from all over the area can come and pay their respects to those who have passed away.’

Peter Stafford, 72, from Southsea, left, places his light in one of the trays. Picture: Sarah Standing (161710-9424)
The choir during the carols. Picture: Sarah Standing (161710-4996)
Picture: Sarah Standing (161710-4975)