St. Luke’s Hospice has launched its annual ‘Light up a Life’ appeal, giving people the chance to remember a loved one this Christmas-time, while also supporting the Hospice.

Local people are invited to make a donation to the Hospice in their loved one’s memory online at, where they can add a personal message and photo to the special online dedication board. Donations can also be made by contacting the Fundraising team on 01268 524973. 

In December the Hospice will also be holding its much-loved remembrance services across the local community and there will be a Light up a Life radio dedication programme aired in partnership with Gateway 97.8. 

This year’s Light up a Life appeal has been very kindly supported by Wendy French, whose husband Jeremy was supported by St. Luke’s Hospice before he died in December last year. 

Wendy shares their story: 

husband and wife hugging in a garden                                        

“Jeremy lived in Laindon, Basildon, all his life. We had been married 38 and a half years. He was 19 and I was 16 when we first met. He loved his life and being a farmer. Having grown up together, we were unified in everything we did. 

“Jeremy was a fit, sporty man who was great at all sports, particularly golf. A truly amazing husband, father, grandfather, son, brother and friend. His family and friends were very important to him. He was fun-loving, always making jokes – everyone who met him loved him. He was incredibly enigmatic and charismatic, a man who drew anybody and everybody in when they met him. He simply loved life. 

“Jeremy was diagnosed with cancer aged 60 at the beginning of February 2022. Following tests, we were told it was malignant melanoma which, whilst not curable, we were told was treatable. 

“Despite Jeremy needing palliative care, we never considered end of life care at this time. We believed perhaps he would have at least five more years or so to live. It wasn’t until the end that we understood it to be stage 4 malignant melanoma. 

“After Jeremy’s initial diagnosis, he suffered with a lot of nerve pain. The GP suggested that St. Luke’s Hospice contact us. We knew of the Hospice, however we didn’t know they could support people within their own homes. 

“Many think that receiving care from a hospice means dying soon so, when the Hospice called, Jeremy was initially mortified. This was soon forgotten once we began receiving their support. 

“The Hospice nurses came out, changed his drugs, supported him and it worked - he became pain free for some time. The Hospice then became his lifeline. 

“Jeremy received immunotherapy in late March 2022. The immunotherapy was tough. Jeremy had a severe reaction to it and ended up in hospital after two bouts of treatment resulting in a stay in hospital. This would end up meaning no more immunotherapy. Lots of hospital appointments later and generally feeling much more tired from the cancer, Jeremy remained positive. 

“Unfortunately, in October, he then deteriorated quite quickly and after another stay in hospital we were given the devastating news that there was nothing further they could do. Jeremy was coming home to die. The Hospice now became even more pivotal to his care. 

“Jeremy often experienced a lot of pain. The Hospice’s OneResponse 24 hour support line, Hospice Community Services and Clinical Nurse Specialist team supported us. 

“I was reassured and relieved when anyone from the Hospice came out to see Jeremy, as I knew they would all be equally as compassionate, kind, caring, empathetic and understanding – they’re just amazing people. It was emotionally and physically draining so I don’t know how I would have managed without them. 

“Even if unable to visit Jeremy in-person, the Hospice’s teams remained a reassuring voice. When someone you love is in that situation and you’re trying to care for them the best you can, it presents all sorts of emotions so, to receive both emotional and practical support from the Hospice was invaluable. The nurses were even able to discuss the topic of death with Jeremy to support him morally, on a much more personal level. 

“Jeremy rapidly became very unwell and very vulnerable. One night the nurses visited three times and between them were able to change the medication accordingly to help ease his pain. They were just wonderful with him. 

“Our family is incredibly appreciative of the Hospice’s teams, who made Jeremy’s last weeks at home all the better – a horrendous situation made as bearable as it could be. Seeing someone who had been a pillar of strength become so ill and vulnerable was difficult for the children and his family and friends so, witnessing them care for him so delicately was reassuring. The Hospice even organised for nurses to be present throughout the night for three visits during the final ten days of Jeremy’s life. 

“One of the times that I felt the Hospice’s nurses were most compassionate, caring and gentle was when Jeremy passed away. They were able to come out and dress him. They were so kind and they showed this to Jeremy, even though he was no longer with us. Jeremy died in our home on 7th December 2022. We held his funeral on 19th December 2022. 

“To anyone who supports St. Luke’s Hospice this Christmas-time, your donations could help give someone the support needed to die in their own home, when it otherwise might not be possible for them to do so. For many people this is incredibly important, as it was for Jeremy – it helped provide a pathway for him to go from this life to the next with as much support around him as possible, in his chosen surroundings. 

“Jeremy and I had a philosophy – we didn’t make much of Valentine’s day, for example, or other days like this in particular. Jeremy and I aimed to make every day with each other as special as possible and it is with this sentiment that I will be remembering him this Christmas-time - I miss and remember him every single day, through every single minute.” 

For more information about Light up a Life the ways you can take part and support St. Luke’s Hospice, visit or call the Light up a Life team on 01268 524 973 or email [email protected].

Special thanks to T Cribb & Sons Funeral Directors and West & Coe Funeral Directors for supporting Light up a Life 2023.