With Christmas nearly upon us, the annual Light up a Life Appeal draws to a close for 2018.

The Bideford Pannier Market Light Up a Life service 2018. Picture: Graham HobbsThe Bideford Pannier Market Light Up a Life service 2018. Picture: Graham Hobbs

People across the area have been donating to both North Devon Hospice and Children’s Hospice South West in memory of those who they miss at Christmas time.

A combined £37,000 has been raised, which will help both charities care for patients and families facing a life-limiting illness this festive season.

It is the 22nd year the Gazette has worked with the hospices to promote the appeal, and this week organisers gathered under the special Light Up a Life star on Barnstaple Square to announce this year’s total and thank everyone who donated.

Tony Gussin, chief reporter at the Gazette, said: “Light Up a Life is a privilege to be involved in.

The Bideford Pannier Market Light Up a Life service 2018. Picture: Graham HobbsThe Bideford Pannier Market Light Up a Life service 2018. Picture: Graham Hobbs

“This is because, unlike many appeals, people are donating in memory of a loved one.

“They get the chance to hang a star on their tree or come to a service and light a candle, so it is an uplifting experience and something positive comes from it. Thank you to all who took part.”

Gerard Fawcitt, from North Devon Hospice, added: “It is very comforting to know we are not alone in missing someone at this time of year, and that is why Light Up a Life is a very special appeal.

“The funds raised will also help us care for those who need us over Christmas.

The Bideford Pannier Market Light Up a Life service 2018. Picture: Graham HobbsThe Bideford Pannier Market Light Up a Life service 2018. Picture: Graham Hobbs

“We work right through the festive period, providing 24-hour care both at the hospice and in people’s own homes. So if you donated to this year’s appeal, you will be helping us to make someone’s Christmas brighter, as we can support them during the darkest times.”

Josh Allen, Community Fundraiser from Children’s Hospice South West, said: “It’s always very special meeting so many hospice supporters at services all over North Devon, and being able to thank them for sharing memories of their loved ones through the Light Up a Life appeal.

“This year, CHSW has been able to offer care and support to 522 families, and we could not have done that without the generosity of local people.

“Light Up a Life really does help us shine a light for so many families who rely on our support

North Devon Hospice and Children’s Hospice South West would like to thank Parker Hannifin, Morrisons, Tesco, North Devon Gazette and James Electrics for their support.