The 2019 Light Up a Life appeal is almost at and end, with thousands of local people remembering their loved ones by making a donation in their memory and lighting candles at special Light Up a Life services right across North Devon.
The festive appeal supports those being cared for by North Devon Hospice and Children's Hospice South West, helping to make Christmas a little brighter for local families facing the loss of a loved one.
One person who has found solace in Light Up a Life is Kelly Saunders from Bideford. Her dad, Ken Green, was cared for by North Devon Hospice before he died just after Christmas 2017.
She said: "Dad had a long battle with cancer, and as it developed we got introduced to the hospice. It made us realise that we weren't going to be alone for the journey ahead of us."
Thanks to the support provided, Ken was able to have his wishes respected and was able to die at home, surrounded by his family.
Kelly said: "Dad's worst fear was going into hospital towards the end. He would have been very happy being cared for at the hospice, but his preference was to stay in the comfort of his own home and that was made possible thanks to the care that the hospice provided to us at home.
"It meant that in his final days we could have time and space together as a family. It meant we felt secure and safe with him being at home, knowing the hospice team were right there beside us when we needed them."
Christmas is a difficult time of year for Kelly and her family, but the Light Up a Life services have helped provide a positive focal point.
She continued: "It's a tough time for us, but the hospice do things to help you through it and the first Christmas after losing dad, we really enjoyed going to a Light Up a Life service.
"We knew it would be emotional, but it was very comforting and warm. Everyone was celebrating their loved ones' life, and lighting a candle for them was really special. It was a nice thing to do as a family, our children really enjoyed it too. None of us walked away feeling upset, it was just a really nice time to remember dad."
Since being cared for by North Devon Hospice, Kelly says that it is important for her to support the cause: "The hospice help people avoid going into hospital or feeling alone during what is a really difficult time, so it's been important for me and my family to raise funds since dad passed away.
"The support the hospice has given us has been fantastic, and we want to make sure that they are able to care for other local families in the same way."
Visit lual.co.uk or call 01271 347232 to find out how you can take part in the 2019 Light Up a Life appeal, by making a donation in memory of a loved one.
Every pound raised will help make Christmas a little brighter for other families like Kelly's, who are being supported through tough times right now.