The much-loved Gazette Light Up a Life Appeal will be launched at the Barnstaple Christmas Lights Switch On this Sunday.

The 22nd annual joint fundraising appeal for North Devon Hospice (NDH) and Children’s Hospice South West (CHSW) will be launched on the big stage at 5.30pm, before the main switch-on at 6pm.

The full programme is available in our Christmas magazine, included with this issue of the Gazette, but once again the star is the theme, with lit stars at the Square Christmas tree, both hospices and the Gazette offices.

Now a firm annual tradition, the appeal gives people the opportunity to remember a loved one at Christmas time by making a donation for a candle in their memory.

The Ilfracombe service at Pip and Jim’s (St Philip and St James Church) is one of the longest-running in the appeal’s 22-year history and the Reverend Clive Thomas said it was a ‘great privilege’ to be able to carry on the tradition and support the two hospices.

“I’m very much looking forward to holding this year’s first Light Up a Life service in Ilfracombe on December 2,” he said.

“The church will be full of Christmas trees as our Christmas Tree Festival starts on November 23, so this will be a very special way to remember a loved one at this time of year.

“I speak to a lot of people in Ilfracombe and it is clear that both hospices are very highly respected and valued in the town,” he added.

“People genuinely care about the charities; you meet very few people who don’t know someone who has been helped by one of the hospices.

“The Light Up a Life services are open to all and I hope people will join us at Pip and Jim’s on December 2.

Emma Perry at CHSW said: “Christmas can be such a poignant time of year, both at Little Bridge House and for our supporters out in the community,” she said.

“For this reason, our Light Up a Life services provide our community a special time to remember their loved ones and celebrate the memories of their lives, many of whom themselves supported CHSW and the work we do.”

Gerard Fawcitt from North Devon Hospice added: “As we approach Christmas, we may all be looking forward to the celebrations, but it can also bring up mixed emotions as we think of loved ones who are no longer with us.

“On behalf of all the patients and families we care for, thank you so much for your kind support.”

To donate, go to www.lual.co.uk or text LUAL10 £(enter amount) to 70070.