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Tree of Light campaign launched

A charity dedicated to helping eradicate loneliness in Southampton has unveiled its eleventh Tree of Light campaign this month with more trees than before planned for across the city.

The campaign, which this year includes a trio of trees, will be officially launched by the Mayor of Southampton, Councillor Peter Baillie, in his Parlour on Wednesday 4th December.

Manager at Communicare, Annie Clewlow said: “This year we have three festive trees in different locations in the city, which will be covered with hundreds of twinkling, sponsored lights to commemorate loved ones, and we’re delighted the Mayor has invited us to host our official 2019 launch in his Parlour at the Civic Centre.

“The evening, which starts at 5pm, will include light festive refreshments and carol singing led by a choir of young people from Southampton Children’s Hospital. It’s free for anyone to attend but, as space is limited, this is a ticket only event.

“We also have a light-up event before this on Sunday, December 1st at St Marks Church on Archers Road. Anyone who wishes to attend is invited to join us and Father Christmas for crafting and carol singing from 4pm. The Tree of Light will be switched on by the Mayor at around 5.30pm. This event is also free. Booking is not required.

“Then on Saturday, December 7th, the Mayor will flick the switch on our third and final tree in Woolston Millennium Garden.”

The switch on at 4.45pm will be preceded by Christmas carols under the tree from 4.30pm led by Rising Stars Choir. Everyone is welcome to attend. There will also be a children’s lantern parade. No booking required.

The idea for the Tree of Light campaign goes back to 1995, when Vicar Paul Firmin at Pear Tree Church in Southampton, introduced the first tree, borrowed from an idea he picked up from South Africa and first used in Shrewsbury.

Last year more than 140 lights were sponsored in memory of lost loved ones in Southampton and the campaign raises up to £2,000 each year to support the charity’s work in the city. This year by having three trees, including ones in the west and centre of Southampton, Communicare hopes to involve a wider group of people.

The events are open to anyone who wishes to attend. Those who wish to sponsor a light, for a suggested minimum donation of £7, in memory of a loved one or special cause, are invited to get in touch with Communicare no later than the day before the event they wish to have their light featured at.

Photographs, short poems and tributes can be sent too, along with remembered names, which will be made into a memorial book.

Any photographs, short poems and tributes should be emailed to manager@communicareinsouthampton.org.uk, or posted Communicare in Southampton, Voluntary Action Centre, Kingsland Square, St. Mary’s, Southampton, SO14 1NW by 6th December.

Photographs can be returned if they are accompanied by a SAE.

All the funds raised will go towards Communicare’s Good Neighbours network, which extends a helping hand to people in the city experiencing challenging circumstances.

Members of the community at a previous Tree of Light event in Woolston.

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