Lost loved ones shine on as Southampton's Tree of Light illuminated

Daily Echo: SWITCH-ON: The mayor and Santa turn on the lights on the Tree of Light. SWITCH-ON: The mayor and Santa turn on the lights on the Tree of Light.

IT brought a Southampton community to a standstill.

Hundreds of people gazed up at the night sky as it was lit up with 1,000 twinkling blue lights, each representing one of the city’s lost loved ones.

Mayor of Southampton Councillor Ivan White switched on the Daily Echo-backed Tree of Light in the Woolston Millennium Gardens as part of the Woolston Christmas Festival.

People flocked from all corners of the city to watch as the festival was launched with a children’s lantern parade led by a troupe of bagpipers.

Once the lights were switched on, the crowd joined Father Christmas for some carol singing, while others enjoyed funfair rides and browsed market stalls in Victoria Road, which had been closed to traffic for the annual event.

The lights had been sponsored by people all over Southampton in the run-up to the festival in tribute to those who they will be remembering this Christmas.

Sponsors were each given a bauble and will see the names of their loved ones written in a special memory book, along with a photograph and message, which will travel the city’s churches in 2014.

The Tree of Light has already raised more than £1,500 this year.

The money will help Southampton befriending charity Communicare continue to support the city’s most vulnerable people by offering them company, lifts and help with odd jobs when they need it the most.

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