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Lewis-Manning Hospice Care received a phenomenal response to its free community event, ‘Candles on the Lake’ on Saturday, hosted by The Ark in Poole Park, where the local community came together to reflect, celebrate and remember the lives of loved ones.

Supporters had the option to pre-register for a candle, or donate on the night and most families took the opportunity to add a personal message to their candle, at designated dedication stations around the venue.

Attendees were encouraged to start their evening by taking a reflective walk around the lake and enjoy the poignant music played by Boscombe Salvation Army Band. Volunteers from Rockley Water Sports released over 1,000 candles onto the lake throughout the evening, to create a magical display of floating lights. Lewis-Manning Hospice Care’s Trustee, Rev Jane Burgess delivered a powerful and heart-warming reading, which was followed by a performance from Poole Rock Choir.

Area Fundraiser Vicki Gray said, “We were blown away by the response to the event – it was everything that we had hoped that it would be and so much more.

“It was very much a family orientated evening with lots of children attending with their parents and grandparents to remember loved ones no longer with us. The opportunity to naturally grieve over recent times has been denied due to the pandemic and ‘Candles on the Lake’ seemed to be exactly what everyone needed. The event provided a safe place to reflect, remember, grieve but also celebrate the lives of loved ones.

“It was an extremely emotional evening, but outweighing any sadness was the overriding feeling of community spirit – there was a real energy of hope and togetherness.

“The success of the event has raised £7,000, which will go towards funding our Bereavement and Family Support service, as well as other vital hospice care and support to patients and their families, from diagnosis of a life-limiting illness, through to end of life and bereavement.

“We would like to offer huge thanks to Hobbycraft Bournemouth who kindly gifted 2,500 flameless LED tealights to our event. Their generosity helped us to create a magical display of floating lights on the lake.”

Hobbycraft Bournemouth store manager Mark Winterford-Arnold commented: “As soon as we heard about Candles on the Lake, we were keen to show our support and we are delighted to be able to help make this event a real success by offering the candles. Lewis-Manning Hospice Care does such great work in the community, and we were thrilled to be able to contribute and help this fantastic charity hospice.”

Vicki concluded, “There are so many other thank you’s to make; The Ark for hosting the event, LA Digital Print, Rockley Water Sports, Poole Rock Choir, Boscombe Salvation Army Band, BCP Council, Care South, Rev Jane Burgess, Rebecca Warbis Photography, Tesco, Head 2 Toe Workwear, Workwear Pro Direct, B&Q, and Med-Star First Aid. Not forgetting all our amazing volunteers that supported us on the night and helped make it all run smoothly – staff from McCarthy Stone, Passenger Team, Rockley College, Tesco Community and of course our own hospice staff and volunteers.

“We have had an influx of heartfelt messages from attendees expressing their appreciation for the event and sharing how powerful and emotional it was. There is an overwhelming response for us to run it again next year, which we are planning in October 2022.

All candles were floated safely onto the lake, so as not to effect plants and wildlife in the area. All the flameless candles were collected at the end of the evening by dedicated volunteers to ensure there was no litter and will also be reused for subsequent years.

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