THIS year's Light Up A Life switch-on for Wirral Hospice St John's takes place next weekend.

Ten thousand lights will be switched on in memory of loved ones during what promises to be emotional Globe-backed ceremony in the hospice gardens on Sunday, December 8, which starts at 5.30pm.

On the night, there will be a performance of carols by the Hospice choir.

Accompanying them will be the Lyceum Brass Band and Wirral Schools' Brass Band. Singer Sarah Chidlow will give a solo performance.

Pushing the button is Tracie Powell, whose husband Allan passed away last year, after a brave battle with bowel cancer.

Allan from Wallasey passed away, surrounded by family in July last year, aged 63.

Tracie will be joined by daughter, Kerry, and grandchildren, Morgan, 17, and Jeyda, 10.

Tracie said she was delighted to be asked to switch on the lights, adding: "We all feel honoured to be able to switch on the lights, as we know it means so much for many families living in, and with family ties to Wirral.

"The hospice was magnificent with and for Allan.

"The help I have personally received since has been wonderful."

Allan had felt ill for a while before he was taken to hospital in February 2017 after collapsing with what turned out to be a perforated bowel.

A little time later the family received the shattering news that Allan had bowel cancer and it had progressed to stage 4.

He was determined to be around for as long as possible and underwent chemotherapy over several months to make the most of his time with the family.

They all describe Allan as a fighter and, often when seriously ill, he would rally and be back to feeling as well as could be, enjoying quality time watching movies with Morgan and playing games with Jeyda.

Allan's first referral to Wirral Hospice St John's was in April 2018 and he was admitted for three weeks.

Once made more comfortable he was able to return home to be with Tracie and the family.

He also attended the Hospice Wellbeing Centre for a few sessions and this gave Tracie a much-needed break.

He was able to spend time with other patients and joined in some activities.

Allan was an avid reader and able to spend quiet moments reading whilst at the Hospice.

In July 2018, Allan was admitted onto the hospice's Inpatient Unit again.

He received specialist care and support which would give Tracie, Kerry and the grandchildren some peace of mind and precious time together.

They enjoyed picnics in the sunshine in the Hospice garden and talked about family holidays.

Their Yorkshire terrier, Alfie, visited the Hospice too and enjoyed a cuddle from Allan.

Allan's professional background was in pharmaceuticals. He had worked for Octel for years and retired in his 50s. But he soon got bored and went to work at Eli Lilly.

Tracie has received bereavement support from the Hospice and has made new friends through the bereavement group.

She has also joined the hospice as a volunteer.

On being approached to switch on the lights Tracie was delighted to accept, she said: "Allan, the family and I had supported Light up a Life previously, remembering other loved ones and now we can play a part, in memory of Allan, to help people with their own special memories."

Last year, more than 2,000 people attended the ceremony, raising £100,000 for the hospice's work.

Julia Evans, fundraising manager said: "We're so grateful to Tracie, Kerry, Morgan and Jeyda for agreeing to share their story and for switching on our hospice lights.

"Each light represents someone special who is loved and remembered whether people have a connection to the hospice or not.

"I would like to thank everyone who has supported Light up a Life over the past 23 years.

"Your support has helped us to care for our patients and their loved ones."

The carol service is free to attend and all are welcome to come along to remember their loved ones.

For a suggested minimum donation of £5 per light you can sponsor a Light in memory of a loved one.

Light up a Life keepsake tree decorations are also available for a donation from £5 (including postage).

For each light that is sponsored a loved one's name is included in the hospice books of honour and people receive a Light up a Life card in their memory.

The books will be display in the hospice from 4pm on December 8 and remain on view throughout the Christmas period.

Businesses can sponsor a light from £50. All businesses are included in the event programme and in the books of honour.

To sponsor one of the tree lights or buy a special tree decoration keepsake call 0151 343 0778 or visit