MORE than two thousand people attended the 22nd Light Up A Life switch-on for Wirral Hospice St John's.

Ten thousand bulbs were switched on in memory of loved ones during the emotional Globe-backed ceremony in the hospice gardens on Sunday night.

Pushing the button was Joanne Cawley - joined by husband Alan and their sons James, 13, and Luke, nine, to turn - in memory of parents Ruth and Martin Size.

There was also a performance of carols by the Hospice choir.

Accompanying them were the Lyceum Brass Band and Wirral Schools' Brass Band.

Singer Sarah Chidlow gave a solo performance of Fields of Gold.

Before pushing the 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.

"We will always remember my mum and 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."

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.

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."

You can still sponsor a light/keepsake.

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

Call 0151 343 0778 or visit to make a donation online.