Crowds flocked to join the John Taylor Hospice’s Light up a Life event

The service involved uplifting  and poignant readings and songs

The service involved uplifting and poignant readings and songs

Around 140 people from across Birmingham gathered in Erdington Central Square for the special remembrance event last month.

John Taylor Hospice’s Light up a Life event takes place each year in December, bringing together families and friends to cherish memories of loved ones.

Justin Tyrrell, aged 33, came to Light up a Life with his family. “I’m here in memory of my nan, who was cared for by John Taylor Hospice before she died,” he said.

“It’s a chance for our family to get together, and remember all the good times we shared with her. We felt so supported by the hospice – the staff became like an extension of our family. They cared so deeply about us, and took great care of Nanna in her final weeks.”

The Tyrrell family joined dozens of other families and supporters of the hospice for the service.
“It’s the first time we’ve been to Light up a Life,” said Pam Oxford, aged 66, from Great Barr, whose father died in 2001. “We make a donation to the hospice every Christmas. The way they cared for him was just fantastic.”
Her daughter Paula Peters, aged 44, added: “Tonight is the perfect way to remember him.”

A warm welcome from CEO Kate Phipps opened the remembrance event on Sunday December 14.
The service involved readings, songs by the John Taylor Hospice and Vivat! choirs, and some words about remembrance. Also featured in the service was the switching on of the Christmas tree lights – representing the lives of loved ones – and a quiet time for remembrance.

Today more than 600 people across Birmingham and the West Midlands and their families will receive the care they need from John Taylor Hospice.

The choir sang songs such as Stand by Me and Adiemus

The choir sang songs such as Stand by Me and Adiemus


“There are no words to describe how much the hospice helped our family,” said Myrtle Anglin, whose husband died in May this year.

“He reached a point where I couldn’t look after him anymore by myself. The care that he received at home for his last four weeks was second to none – they treated him just like family.”

Myrtle, aged 76, and her daughter Paulette Morrison, aged 51, heard about the Light up a Life event from another supporter of the hospice at John Taylor Hospice’s Birthday Walk event in October.

Community fundraising manager Katie Mitchell commented: “Light up a Life is about remembrance, and being there for support.

“Many people have dedicated a light on the tree here at Erdington Central Square or at the hospice in memory of a loved one, 263 in total. People have been able to see their dedications in the Book of Remembrance this evening and the book will also be on display in the hospice reception until the New Year.

“We’d also like to thank everyone who made a donation. So far we’ve raised nearly £8,000. All money raised will go towards helping the hospice to carry on its important work.”

The event was made possible thanks to sponsors Cutlers Funeral Directors. Special thanks also to Tesco New Oscott Extra, Mother’s Café, and Interserve.

To see photographs from the event, or to find out more about upcoming events in 2015, go to