FOR families in Furness, Christmas can be an incredibly difficult time of the year when grieving the loss of a loved one. In spite of celebration going on all around, a missing family member can create a sense of loss and emptiness.

This year local charity St Mary's Hospice will once again be holding a special Light up a Life service in Barrow to provide comfort, support and love for grieving families.

The uplifting service will feature thoughtful readings, beautiful music and create a quiet time for reflection. With a specially lit tree, filled with messages for and inspired by loved ones.

The event will take place on Thursday December 13 at 6.30pm at St Pauls Church, Hawcoat Lane, Barrow.

Mel Dixon, St Mary’s community development, said: "Christmas can be a particularly difficult time for anyone suffering a loss, so our wish is that we can provide an environment for our supporters to have the opportunity to remember, reflect and celebrate the life of someone special.

"Light up a Life can be an extremely cathartic way to honour a loved one’s memory, in our busy modern lives we do not always have the opportunity to pause and reflect, but I hope this service provides a safe environment in which people can openly celebrate and remember a loved one at Christmas time.

"We are very grateful to everyone who has supported this event, this ensures that we can continue to love and care for patients and their families when they need us most."

St Mary’s Hospice is a charity and provides free comfort and care for people with life –shortening conditions and support for their families, either at the hospice or at home.

They support people from the moment of diagnosis and their families along their entire journey.

Though all care and services are free of charge to the community, they are not free to provide and that’s where the hospice relies on the help of the community. It costs more than £3.2m per year to run St Mary’s Hospice and its services.

Only 18 per cent of its funding is provided by the NHS, meaning they rely on donations and fundraising to cover the rest. This is only possible through the support of the generous community.

Everyone is warmly invited to attend this year’s candlelit service.