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Family to illuminate house for hospice close to heart

Steve Symonds with his Christmas lights

A dedicated fundraiser will illuminate his house in a dazzling display of Christmas lights to raise money for a hospice close to his family’s heart.

Steve Symonds, who lives in Whitbourne, and his family will host the grand switch on event on Saturday, December 8 at 6.30pm.

Flicking the switch will be Britain’s Got Talent star Donchez Dacres – known for his song Wiggle Wine – and the community is invited to join the festivities, which are raising money for St Richard’s Hospice.

The spectacle has become an annual event, raising more than £4,000 for a number of charities over the past seven years.

“In our first year we raised funds for St Richard’s Hospice, where our granddad spent his final days,” said Mr Symonds, aged 25.

“The care it gave, not just to my granddad but my whole family, was admirable. We wanted to do something to say thank you for all the hospice did for our family in a time of need.”

Mr Symonds’ uncle, Paul Etheridge, was also cared for by the hospice before he died in March.

“St Richard’s means a lot to our family as they have helped us all through the toughest of times over the years,” added Mr Symonds.

“They not only gave the best care to our family members, but supported us all throughout their illnesses.”

The switch-on of the display will take place at 29 Acreage, Whitbourne, WR6 5SA. Introducing the special guest will be the Mayor and Mayoress of Bromyard.

There will be mulled wine, mince pies, stalls, a raffle and a visit from Father Christmas – who will have presents for children. The fun begins at 5.30pm.

The display, which takes just over a month to put up, will be available to enjoy until Friday, January 4. There will be a donations bucket on the gate.

Mr Symonds added: “The event is special to us as it’s a way of thanking the wonderful charities who work tirelessly to care for our loved ones.”

Claire James, Fundraiser at St Richard’s, said: “We are so grateful to Steve for choosing to support us again this year with this wonderful community event. We hope everyone enjoys the incredible display this Christmas.”

For more information about the event, please contact Mr Symonds on 01886 821736.

St Richard’s Hospice provides free specialist palliative and end of life care for patients living with life-limiting illnesses and supports their loved ones.

Each year the hospice team supports more than 3,300 patients, family members and bereaved people in Worcestershire.

The hospice strives to provide the best medical, practical, emotional and social support they can to help people live life to the fullest, as independently as they can, for as long as they can.

It cares for people with a range of illnesses including heart failure, Parkinson’s, and motor neurone disease as well as cancer.

St Richard’s is an independent charity and relies on donations for three quarters of its annual £8.8m income with the remainder from the NHS.

St Richard’s has launched the Build 2020 Appeal which aims to raise the final £1.4m needed to build a bigger hospice, enabling more patients and families to be cared for in Worcestershire.

The total cost for expanding and redeveloping the existing building in Wildwood Drive, Worcester, is £5.3m.

For more information about St Richard’s Hospice visit: www.strichards.org.uk.