The community came out in numbers for South Coast Hospice’s annual Tree of Light ceremony that took place at Southcoast Mall on Saturday.
Scores of South Coasters remembered and celebrated lost loved ones, hanging stars bearing their names on the Hospice Christmas tree, whilst raising funds for the Kingfisher House Inpatient Unit, which offers ongoing quality palliative patient care.
The Margate Pipe Band and Port Edward Primary School choir added their voices to the event, while Scot Scott continued his long-standing role as master of ceremonies.
“Thanks to the community who participated, with pledges, making and giving donations, through volunteering, through attending the Tree of Light ceremony, your prayers and most of all, your love throughout the year,” said South Coast Hospice fund-raising co-ordinator, BT King.
“You have helped us to continue to bless and care for many who are not as blessed as ourselves. We’ve been able to journey alongside them through their trials and difficulties and helped them to enjoy the pleasure of life to the end and beyond. As a community-based Hospice, without your support, we would not be able to continue to support our patients, families and friends the way we do.”
The morning started with the Hospice team taking pledges. “This is an opportunity to make a small donation, have your loved one’s name written on a star that you can then hang on the tree. For many, this is a time for closure, a time to remember and a time to celebrate the life of family and friends.
“With family and friends living overseas and in other regions of South Africa, pictures are taken of the star and the tree and sent to share the special time with everyone,” explained King.
At 11am, the Margate Pipe Band did a flash mob at the pledge table where the public were again able to bless Hospice with donations.
“This is their contribution in memory of loved ones; their love of their music talents and the meaningful sounds of the pipes and drums call all for a moment of remembrance. Thanks to the lads and gals of the clans who give up their personal time for this very special occasion.”
Port Edward Primary School learners performed their Nativity play and their choir sang Christmas Carols for and with the community.
“This is a time for the children to bring their blessing and talents to this special remembrance time, as there are children to be remembered at this time as well. The dedication of the children and the teachers were evident in the quality of their performance.”
John Pretorius from Port Edward Methodist Church opened the event with a prayer, where after South Coast Hospice CEO Diane van Dyk lit a special candle of remembrance for patients, children, family and friends who are to be remembered.
Emcee Scott controlled all the proceedings and Sue Mardell lit the Tree of Light.
“Scot is a special man. His love for the work that Hospice does is so evident in being taken away from family and friends to do this for us. Scot…what a blessing you have been to South Coast Hospice over the last eight years. Thank you.
“A special thank you to Sue for lighting the tree. Sue, you have been through a difficult year, yet you had the time to bake our cake and come and light the tree. Thank you for blessing South Coast Hospice over all these many years.
“Thanks to the staff and volunteers who gave us their time on the day with holding collections boxes, setting out chairs, seating community members, handing out flyers of upcoming events, a newsletter of what Hospice has in the pipeline, receipting and taking care of your pledges of loved ones and writing out the stars.
“To the management and security staff of Southcoast Mall, for allowing us the use of your premises again this year, thank you. The storm did not affect us this year as we were cocooned in your food court area. Thank you for the assistance and friendly staff who helped throughout our visit during November and on the day.
“Thanks to the business houses and people who helped us to put this event together; you all play a special role in helping us to let our light of hope and love shine so brightly throughout the festive season. Thank you to Lightning Printers, Bonito Distributors, South Coast Herald, Southcoast Mall and Margate Pipe Band.
“May everyone experience the love of God and the blessings of the festive season with family and friends wherever you may be. We look forward to interacting with each and every one of you again in the new year.”