TEN thousand lights will be switched on in memory of loved ones at Wirral Hospice St John's tonight.

The Globe-backed Light Up A Life switch-on takes place in the hospice gardens at 5.30pm.

Pressing the button will be Joanne Cawley - joined by sons James, 13, and Luke, nine, to turn - in memory of parents Ruth and Martin Size.

Looking forward to the event, now in its 22nd year, Joanne said: "It is such an honour and privilege to be asked to switch on the lights, as each light has its own special story.

"This is only our second year at Light up a Life, but will now be our family tradition every year."

Mum Ruth was first diagnosed with mouth cancer in 1972 and received radiotherapy treatment. In January 2009, she learned the devastating news that her cancer had returned.

She had an operation to replace her jawbone which resulted in having difficulty with eating, drinking and talking.

Ruth then had eight years cancer free before it returned again for a third time.

In February 2016, she was told the cancer was terminal and started receiving treatment and palliative care.

She was referred to Wirral Hospice St John's and attended the Day Therapy Unit. She was apprehensive at first as she found it difficult to communicate with others due to her speech problems.

Joanne accompanied her to the first few sessions and said they were both welcomed by warm compassionate team of staff and volunteers who soon made them feel at ease.

In May last year, Ruth was admitted onto the Inpatient Unit for one month.

According to Joanne, the care was fantastic and gave Martin a much-needed rest.

Ruth's wish was to die at home and a care package was put in place complete with equipment for use at home.

She received support from the Hospice at Home team, district nurses and Macmillan nurses. She died peacefully at home in July last year, aged 71.

Dad Martin was diagnosed with prostate cancer six months later.

He joined a bereavement group which helped him talk to others spouses who had lost their partners.

Sadly, Martin died suddenly in August from a stroke.

Joanne said he was proud and thrilled that the three had been asked to switch on the lights at the Light up a Life service.

She added: "We will always remember my mum and my dad and will light up their lives with a light for each of them.

"Although they are not here with us they will never be forgotten and will stay close in our hearts always."

Julia Evans, fundraising manager at Wirral Hospice St John's said: "I would like to say a big thank you to everyone who has supported Light up a Life over the past 22 years.

"Our lights can be sponsored in memory of your loved one whether you have a connection to the Hospice or not.

"Each light represents someone special who is loved and remembered."

Light up a Life keepsake tree decorations are available for a donation from £3 (including postage).

To sponsor a light/keepsake call 0151 343 0778 or visit www.wirralhospice.org to make a donation online.