EMOTIONS ran high during the Light Up A Life switch-on for Wirral Hospice St John's on Sunday.

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

After a 10-second countdown the lights shone from trees and the soffits of hospice buildings, to applause and cheers from the crowd of more than 2,000 people who had turned out to pay their own silent tributes.

There was a performance of carols by the Hospice choir conducted by Matt Lammin. Accompanying them were the Lyceum Brass Band and Wirral Schools' Brass Band.

Singer Sarah Mullis gave an emotional performance of In The Arms of The Angels, fighting back tears in the song's final verses.

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

Praising the public's support, Julia Evans, fundraising manager said: "Wirral Hospice St John's lights have been shining across Wirral for 23 years.

"Thousands of supporters dedicate our beautiful lights in remembrance of their loved ones at Christmas time.

"Thank your supporting Wirral Hospice St John's in this very thoughtful way; we simply could not exist as we do today without your support."

The books will be display in the hospice from 4pm and remain on view until Sunday, January 5.

A digital version of the books will be able to view online at www.wirralhospice.org from Christmas Eve (Tuesday, December 24).