Clare and Faye Collins

People in Lichfield and Burntwood are being invited to remember a loved one who has passed away and help a local charity at the same time.

St Giles Hospice is holding its Light Up A Life event which allows residents to dedicate a light on a Christmas tree to their loved ones in exchange for a donation.

The poignant event also sees people writing special messages in the Book of Memories before the lights are turned on at services across the Midlands, including one in Lichfield.

Clare and Faye Collins

Clare Collins and her 10-year-old daughter Faye are intending to use the service to remember husband and father Tony, who passed away in February 2013, aged just 38.

He received care from St Giles Hospice during the final days of his battle with stomach cancer.

“Even though he’s not around anymore we still want Christmas to be special, and Light up a Life will be a big part of that,” Clare explained.

“St Giles Hospice relies on support from the community so that they can continue to do for other local people what they did for us – and Light up a Life is a great opportunity to remember those we’ve lost while helping a vital charity.

“We’re planning to dedicate a light to Tony, write messages in the Book of Memories and attend our local Light up a Life service with family and friends – and we hope hundreds of other people will do the same.”

Although he was originally cared for in hospital, Tony’s wish was to spend his final days at home – and Clare, who had previously been a full-time healthcare assistant at St Giles knew exactly where to turn.

“I specifically requested St Giles to come in and look after us because I already knew what a fantastic job they did -they were there for us every step of the way,” Clare added.

“I tried to care for Tony by myself but for the last couple of days St Giles stepped in, which meant I was able to get some rest.

“They helped me to be strong enough to be there for Tony at the end.”

The service will also be a chance for Faye to remember her father.

“After Daddy died I made a memory book which helps me to remember all the fun things we did,” she said. “We used to do lots of things together – he was hilarious!”

For further information about Light up a Life or to remember someone special through the initiative visit, call 01543 432538 or email

Founder of Lichfield Live and editor of the site.