Memorial service is biggest ever

A piper playing at the end of the ''Portchester Memorial Gardens Christmas service ''Picture: Paul Jacobs  (133506-2)
A piper playing at the end of the ''Portchester Memorial Gardens Christmas service ''Picture: Paul Jacobs (133506-2)
Lord Mayor of Portsmouth Cllr Ken Ellcome with Jean and Allan Thompson. Picture: Chris Moorhouse

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A MEMORIAL service in Portchester was the biggest ever.

The service, held every year at Portchester Memorial Gardens, is in its 10th year and remembers loved ones who have died.

Money raised goes to The Rowans Hospice.

This year, an impressive £1,050 was raised and The Rowans’ chief executive Ruth White was among the 1,500 attendees.

Katy Watson, office manager at the gardens, said: ‘It was such a big event and it was lovely to see Ruth there.

‘We’ve supported the charity since we started the service in 2003 and her being there meant a lot to us.

‘I also want to thank all the volunteers for all their help.

‘It’s a community-spirited event, to remember those that have passed away.’

A moving service was held, led by Carol Gully, the spiritual chaplain of The Rowans and the memorial garden’s director Julie Hind, where a bagpiper played and two singers, Karina Hind and Daniel Donskoi, performed an opera-style rendition of The Prayer.

Afterwards the Fareham Philharmonic Choir sung carols across the lake area of the gardens.

A lantern was floated in the middle of the lake and individual tealight lanterns were handed to families to place on to loved ones’ memorials or in a special dedicated area.

The service was rounded off with the sounds of the bagpiper, who played traditional music while people enjoyed a glass of mulled wine and a mince pie.

Mrs Hind added: ‘We had more people there than any other year.

‘It’s one of those poignant moments as everybody is there for the same purpose — to remember their loved ones.

‘Even those without memorials got to take through a lantern to place in a dedicated area.

‘It is so moving, to see everybody together, especially at this time of the year.’

A spokesman from The Rowans Hospice said: ‘We would like to thank the gardens for their continued support, it was a lovely service and well attended.

‘It’s so lovely that the community continues to support The Rowans at events like these, remembering loved ones that have died.’