Remembering those we love
Light up a Life is a special time of year where we invite our community to join us in remembering their loved ones by sponsoring a light on our beautiful Christmas tree that shines brightly here at Winsley House. Your light is both a lasting legacy, but also a symbol. An offering of light that shines for those that so dearly need it. An offer of compassion and hope to those families who need our help and support now.
Light up a Life is a celebration of inner light spreading out across our community.
Light up a Life Bath Abbey Service: Livestream
Watch LIVE from 6pm on Tuesday 28 November!
Hand-written dedication card
If you choose to sponsor a light, you will receive a hand-written dedication card, so please do ensure you fill in your postal details when donating. If you have not received a physical mailing, you will see a space on the donation form inviting you to leave a message on a star.
Your message will be written on two lovely stars, one is for you to keep and will be sent with your dedication card, the other will be displayed here at Winsley House. The stars will then be displayed at each service, hundreds of special messages placed together, dedicated to those we wish to remember.
Services of Light
We would also love to welcome you at one of our Services of Light this year.
All our services offer a chance to come together, to spread light across our community. It is a healing time, and a time for reflection. It would be a pleasure to welcome you if you choose to join us.
During the services you will hear special readings from our staff and community, we will have a live choir, and at the Winsley services you will be able to see the wonderful Christmas tree. The physical services are where you will receive your candle, which you can take with you and light at a time of your choosing. Perhaps for a special anniversary, or on Christmas Day; a symbol of remembrance for your loved one.
You can register for a free ticket to any of our specific Services below. Alternatively, you can call our Supporter Care Team on 01225 721 480.
John and Lyn's story
Light up a Life can be part of a healing process, a way to help come to terms with loss during a time of grief. For some, Light up a Life can be a part of a spiritual journey, this can be faith-based, or not. For all of us however, it is a time of remembrance, a poignant and special way to celebrate a loved one. This year we are sharing John’s story.
John has so kindly expressed why Light up a Life is important to him and his family, why he continues to support Dorothy House, and what Dorothy House and Light up a Life meant to Lyn.
John and Lyn's story
I’m John Farmer and I’m 63 years of age, Lyn and I were married for 43 years. We have two children and I recently welcomed our fourth grandchild into this world, her name is Evelyn named after Lyn.
Before Lyn was diagnosed with cancer, I wouldn’t have known anything about Dorothy House. I was aware of the name, but I didn’t really know what it was. I think when things are good, you tend not to want to know. But when you need it, I don’t think you can ever be too thankful for it.
When Lyn got the news about her terminal breast cancer, it hit her badly. It hit us all badly. For Lyn it was terrible, she loved life. From the outside, everybody saw her as a bit of a tough cookie, but really, inside she wasn’t.
We were lost, but then a lady from Dorothy House came along called Sarah. She was truly amazing. When you watch someone work like that, it is incredible. How much difference she was making. I was so impressed by her knowledge.
Lyn needed a lot of support. I was dedicated to her, the family were brilliant, and she had a fantastic network of friends. She felt supported, but we couldn’t give her everything she needed.
She wanted honesty, to know what was happening. She needed technical input which we were unable to give her. Sarah gave her that. Lyn wasn’t responding well to treatments. Mentally at this point she was broken, in a bad place, and the word suicide and things like that were said.
Sarah suggested time at Winsley House. The support there was what she needed; it was wonderful. We couldn’t give her what she needed, but the Hospice could.
Lyn was on 40 tablets a day. I knew it wasn’t right, but what can you do. Where do you go about this?
In the Hospice, she met one of the doctors. He took care and time to get to know her, to understand her condition, she had had some mental health issues in the past. He halved the number of tablets which made her feel great. It was progress, she felt better for taking less. It shows what can be done when you take time to understand your patient.
Lyn wasn’t religious, but she did have a thing about life after death. She believed that her mum was looking over her. She had some thoughts about that side of things, not God, but on a spiritual level. The man that made the difference was Dave, a truly extraordinary guy.
When Dave and Lyn first met it was funny, he said “I’m David”, and she said “Oh yeah, the God guy?” He laughed. They got talking, which was surprising to me, the dynamic between the two was amazing. He used to make her laugh, and at that point she didn’t laugh. She wasn’t always depressed and unhappy, but she didn’t laugh a lot. She laughed with Dave.
He has an incredible ability. He talked about this man in the corner trying to destroy her life, throwing problems at her. She had to throw it back. He had all these amazing little things that he’d say.
He told the truth. I remember him saying, you’re going to be here for this Christmas, but you might not see next. He was preparing the ground, but he did it in a way that was right for Lyn.
After visits with the Hospice, Lyn was more positive. A person ready to face the challenges, ready to throw things back at the guy in the corner.
Lyn wanted to get her funeral arrangements set up. Our boys came, we had an hour together in the Chapel with Dave. The laughter was fantastic. It was such a sad topic; we were planning Lyn’s funeral, but all of us were just laughing. It was incredible.
We had a wonderful service.
We wouldn’t have got through that time without Dorothy House or have spent it in the same way. From such a dark place, Dorothy House completely revolutionised our lives. I’ll be eternally grateful.
Dorothy House helped us make something of that time. Without that I feel Lyn’s decline would have been quicker. A miserable time for the family. Instead, we did some lovely things. We even went away for a weekend. The point is, the time we did have wasn’t going to be great, but Dorothy House helped us make the most of what we had left.
Not just medical help, all the little things too. The lady that came to bring breakfast and talks to you about family. She comes in the next day and remembers what was said, asks you questions about it all. I’d walk in and someone was massaging her feet and having conversations about children and life. These little things – truly extraordinary.
I didn’t know what the word Hospice meant. They give you dignity, they help people that need help.
Lyn had to go to the hospital in the end and we found that difficult. Incredibly, Dorothy House were there at the hospital too.
A nurse said “hello, I’m from Dorothy House, I work here some days. I heard Lyn was here. Do you remember the doctor from the Hospice? He also works here one day a week, it’s today, do you want to speak to him?”
He came to see us that day. I remember saying it had been an awful day, and I won’t sleep if I know that she is in pain. He said, “I can do this for you, I’ll make sure she gets a peaceful night”.
Even at the hospital, Dorothy House were able to help us and allay my fears. They were going to look after Lyn in the night.
She passed in the night. I know that she was peaceful.
I’ll never forget what Dorothy House did. They provide a service that nobody else can, and I wonder, what is the cost of dignity?
I wouldn’t want anybody to go through a similar journey and not have that support. We’re at the other side now, but only because our journey was with Dorothy House.
When you understand that, what a Hospice does, you realise that it’s worth fighting for.
We did Light up a Life last year, I went with Lyn. It was an opportunity to reflect and think about positive things. A chance to give back to Dave and his team and all the clinical staff there doing what they do.
I will be there again this year, dedicating a light and donating. I sometimes think of it as the cost of a couple of coffees in a Costa these days. I am going to give that money to Dorothy House instead. It’s an investment.
We will never forget what Dorothy House has done for us.
"An opportunity to reflect and think about positive things"
Sponsor your light today
From all of us here at Dorothy House, I hope you find this year’s Light up a Life a source of comfort, and I look forward to welcoming you at our services.
Spiritual Support Lead