Dedicate a candle to a loved one at St Joseph’s Hospice | St Joseph's Hospice

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Dedicate a candle to a loved one at St Joseph’s Hospice

Walter Berwick will be attending this year’s Light up a Light service on 4th December to remember his son Stephen who died at St Joseph’s Hospice.

Light up a life is St Joseph’s Hospice annual remembrance service with music and readings, a special time for family and friends to come together with a wider community to remember a loved one they have lost and to recognise the vital work of St Joseph’s Hospice.

The lighting of the Remembrance Tree is particularly poignant, with each candle representing lost love ones.

Walter has special reason to attend the service this year as his son Stephen Berwick spent the last days of his life being cared for by the staff at St Joseph’s Hospice last year when aged just 34 he lost his life to the brain condition encephalitis.

Stephen came to St Joseph’s Hospice for respite care on St Anne’s Ward soon after a course of radiotherapy to treat his condition caused him to lose his sight. Respite care is available to people with life-limiting illness who come in to the Hospice for few weeks to be looked after by a nursing team, to make sure they are coping with their condition and to see if there is anything else that St Joseph’s can offer them to make life a little easier. It also gives people a break from their daily routine and home and gives their carers a break.

Stephen had a lot of confidence in the staff and was happy at St Joseph’s, he particularly loved the food. Over the next 18 months he was in and out of the hospice for respite care and for complementary therapies and attended the neurological group in Finding Space.

He was always surrounded by friends and family during his stay, and he could have as many visitors as he wanted.

Stephen spent the last three weeks of his life as an inpatient on St Michael’s Ward, where he died surrounded by his friends and family.

Stephen’s dad Walter said, “We are forever in debt to St Joseph’s, I don’t know what we would have done without it, the nurses were absolutely brilliant and it was a real lifeline for us and that’s why we will be attending Light up a Life and making a donation to help them raise the £7 million they need every year to continue to provide these services.

“St Joseph’s Hospice still supports both my wife and I, when Stephen was being cared for we were offered complementary therapies, reiki and massage, completely free of charge and this really helped us when we were going through such a stressful time. We still come to St Joseph’s once a week for treatments, more than a year after Stephen’s death. It’s good for us to still have this link with St Joseph’s Hospice and the people who cared for our son.”

Michael Kerin, Chief Executive, St Joseph’s Hospice said, “Light up a Life is a unique event that really brings people from the local community together to share their memories of their loved ones at a time of year that can be particularly difficult and emotive."

“We would like to see lots of people from Hackney joining us at St Joseph’s Hospice this year to light a candle and to make a donation if possible. This will help us meet our £15 million fundraising target including over £7million from charitable giving to provide the wide range of services we offer, to people within the Hospice in Hackney but also in the communities of Newham, Tower Hamlets and the City of London.”

Dedicate a light: If you'd like to dedicate a light on the St Joseph's Hospice Remembrance Tree, please call us on 020 8525 3200 or email 

Newham - Wednesday 26th November 7pm, Newham Town Hall, High Street North, London, E6 2RP
Hackney - Thursday 4th December, 7pm, St Joseph’s Hospice, Mare Street, Hackney, E8 4SA

Media contact: Claire Learner, PR Manager, 020 8525 3208, 07736 313698 or email   

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