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Christmas memorial service to be held virtually

Published: Thursday, 10th December 2020

Carmountside Crematorium’s annual Christmas memorial service to remember lives lost in the city is set to be held virtually this year.

Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and subsequent tier three restrictions in Stoke-on-Trent, the usual Christmas memorial services held at Carmountside are unable to go ahead this year. Under normal circumstances, there are three services held, including a dedicated children and babies service, which are attended by up to 650 people.

This year, a pre-recorded service will be held online for those wishing to remember their loved ones. It will include prayers and a Gospel reading led by Father Peter Weatherby – former priest at the Sacred Heart Church in Hanley – who usually officiates the service, poetry readings and Christmas carols. A piece of reflection music will be played where families are invited to remember those they have sadly lost.

The service will be broadcast on Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s corporate Facebook page on Sunday, 13 December at 2pm – the same date the usual services would have been held. People are invited to watch the service to help them reflect upon memories of their loved ones and to commemorate their lives. The recording will remain on the Facebook account for people to watch at a time convenient for them.

Councillor Lorraine Beardmore, cabinet member for culture, leisure and public health said: “Christmas is a time for family and friends. It is also a time for remembering those who we hold dear but are no longer with us. This year has been particularly tough with the impact of the coronavirus. In previous years, many residents have gathered at the poignant Christmas memorial services held at Carmountside to remember those who have passed away. We felt that although the services cannot take place as usual, it was important that we continue the tradition and still hold a service in a way that would be safe and as accessible as possible.

“The pre-recorded service still has many of the familiar aspects such as readings and carols, and I hope that people can find some comfort in watching it and taking the time to reflect upon happy memories. I’d encourage anybody watching to light a candle as another way of paying tribute to your loved ones.

“I’d like to thank the bereavement care services team who have worked hard to put this service together to ensure that our residents can still commemorate those who they have sadly lost.” 

Father Peter Weatherby added: “Christmas, we know, is a time of joy and celebration. Yet it is always difficult for so many people - particularly those who experience loss. 
It is my great privilege to have helped people over so many years to keep this as a season of joy, but also of comfort, comfort in loss, comfort in fond memories, comfort in hope. 
This year, more than ever, the tidings of comfort and joy will be important to everyone. It has been a tough year, for almost everyone. It has kept us apart, yet in other ways it has brought us closer together.  Whatever pains and sadness we carry, may these dark days lead to a new light, a new comfort and a new hope. God bless you all.”

The service can be found via https://www.facebook.com/sotcitycouncil from Sunday, 13 December at 2pm.

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For all media enquiries only please contact the Communications Department at Stoke-on-Trent City Council on 01782 232395.

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