L to R, Noah Crawford (9 yrs, Dunfermline) and Sir Tom Farmer turning on the lights.

Hundreds of people from Edinburgh and the Lothians braved the frosty temperatures last night  to attend the St Columba’s Hospice Light a Light tree lighting ceremony in Charlotte Square Gardens, Edinburgh.

A band from Balerno High School played as people filtered in to the gardens before the Chairman of St Columba’s Board of Governors, Ian Adam, welcomed those in attendance.  Hospice physiotherapist Yvonne Whitehouse then gave a touching speech about the importance of a multi-disciplinary approach to patient care.

Yvonne said after the event: “I was absolutely thrilled to be asked to make the speech at Light a Light 2014. Every day the physiotherapists and occupational therapists work with patients who simply want to maintain their independence and ability to do the things they love. Hospice care is not all about elderly people, or those with cancer. It is for everyone with a life-limiting illness and it is important that people are aware of that.”

The lighting of the Tree of Remembrance by Sir Tom Farmer and nine year-old Noah Crawford from Dunfermline was met with applause.

Sir Tom Farmer said: “I am delighted to once again be involved in the Light a Light Ceremony.  St. Columba’s Hospice provides a caring role in our community giving help to loved ones and their families during most difficult times.

“The gathering, by so many people at the St. Columba’s tree (which is not just a Christmas tree but a Tree of Memories), where everyone comes together to share or have private thoughts of someone who has been special to them. It is also an opportunity for us all to show our appreciation for all the good work carried by everyone at St. Columba’s.

“Each light on the tree represents the memory of someone who is loved and missed and each is a symbol of a life remembered.”

Singers included Jennifer Harper, Balerno High School Choir and special guests Edinburgh Police Choir, who moved through the crowd singing carols, encouraging people to join in.

St Columba’s Hospice Chief Executive Jackie Husband said: “The 2014 Light a Light event was a huge success and I would like to thank everyone who dedicated a light on our Tree of Remembrance to a loved one, and to those who attended on the night. Every donation and every person who raises awareness of the Hospice helps to support the work we do and for that we are truly grateful.”

Thanks to your support the Hospice has so far raised over £95,000 and staff are hopeful they can reach £100,000 by Christmas. These funds will go towards the treatment and support of patients and their relatives over the Christmas period and into 2015.

The Tree of Remembrance will remain lit until Monday 5th January 2015. If you were unable to attend the event, you can still dedicate a light on the tree in memory of a loved one.

Simply call 0131 551 1381 or e-mail fund@stcolumbashospice.org.uk.