Thousands join beautiful Torchlight Procession in uphill Lincoln

23rd November 2023

torchlight procession

On Tuesday 21st November, thousands of people came together in the historic uphill area of Lincoln for the annual St Barnabas Hospice Torchlight Procession, in remembrance of loved ones.

 The Procession was led by the RAF Waddington Pipe band, with individuals and families following whilst holding flaming torches and light-up lanterns. Walking from Clayton’s Sports Ground, together they made their way along the route to Lincoln Cathedral. The atmosphere was beautiful, with many supporters seen to be visibly emotional as they paid tribute to lost loved ones.

As is tradition, the Procession paused at the Hospice’s Inpatient Unit on Nettleham Road, where a lone piper shared an emotive rendition of Amazing Grace. Staff, volunteers and patients that were able to come out and watch enjoyed this poignant display, whilst others listened from inside the building.RAF Waddington Pipe Band

Once the Procession arrived at Lincoln Cathedral, attendees took part in a service of celebration and reflection. Throughout the service, several representatives of St Barnabas Hospice, delivered short speeches.

Chief Executive Chris Wheway said: “Our Light Up a Life campaign and Torchlight Procession are adored and poignant appeals, enabling members of the community to honour, reflect and remember loved ones lost.

“This is the 8th year I have been involved in the Torchlight Procession and I have to say it gets better and better every time. It is a truly magical evening that I feel brings comfort to all of us here, young, and old, as we are connected by the shared experience of grief.

“We are very honoured to be supported by you all here tonight and we couldn’t do our job without that support. Over the last year, we have supported over 12,000 people across Lincolnshire and the positive impact of that care will go on for generations to come.”

IPU staff and patients holding flaming torchesIndividuals and families were able to write Messages of Love and tie them to the railings of the 30-foot Tree of Life outside Lincoln Cathedral, sending a special message to their loved ones lost.

In attendance was Finn Dillon, owner of the Tower Hotel and son of Philly, who through St Barnabas shared his story of the death of his mum, Philly earlier this year.

Upon the Procession’s arrival at the Cathedral, Finn brought the flaming torch forward from the crowd to the Cathedral doors and lit the ceremonial torch that burned throughout the service.

Again, this year, Finn and his team continued Philly’s much-loved tradition of offering mulled wine and soup to participants of the Torchlight Procession.

Ness Wilson, Events and Innovation Fundraising Officer, and project lead for the Torchlight Procession, said: “Our Torchlight Procession is such a poignant event, and it has been an incredibly moving evening for all involved.

“It means so much to the people of Lincolnshire, and us at St Barnabas, to be able to come together in remembrance of our loved ones lost. Many of our supporters have been attending the Procession for years, and it’s wonderful to see them bring along old and new faces.

“We want to thank everyone who walked the Procession or has dedicated a light on the Tree of Life, your support really makes a difference to the provision of vital hospice care across Lincolnshire.”

Over the last month, St Barnabas have encouraged members of the community to dedicate a light in memory of a loved one through their Light Up a Life appeal. These dedicated lights now shineYoung girl on the shoulders of man taking a photograph of the Procession brightly on the Tree of Life outside Lincoln Cathedral.

The appeal continues throughout the whole festive period, with supporters receiving a personalised handwritten card, a star-shaped tree decoration and a digital tribute to share with family and friends on their social media pages.

To dedicate a light, please visit:

Light Up a Life has already raised over £50,000 for vital hospice care in the local community. St Barnabas thank everyone who has dedicated a light, walked in the Torchlight Procession, or donated to their cause.

Ness adds: “Each year Light Up a Life is supported far beyond what we could ever imagine by individuals, the local community, businesses, and organisations, for which we are so grateful. Without this support we simply couldn’t do what we do, so thank you all.

Tree of Life illuminated in front of Lincoln Cathedral“The Tree of Life sits outside the Cathedral and is completely free to visit. We encourage people who were unable to attend the Torchlight Procession to visit when they can, for a moment of reflection for loved ones lost.

“To add a Message of Love to the railings of the Tree of Life throughout the festive period, please visit Lincoln Cathedral or the Visitor Information Centre to find and write a message, in return for a donation to St Barnabas Hospice”.

With special thanks to all volunteers, runners, stewards, Doddington Hall & Gardens, Allen Signs, Lincoln Cathedral, Lincolnshire County Council, S. Lyon & Son Haulage Ltd, BBC Radio Lincolnshire, Lincolnshire Police, Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue, RAF Waddington Pipe Band, TSS Events, Taylor Lindsey, Bates Sound Services, Flying Hire Ltd, Lindum Rotary Club, Lincoln Christ’s Hospital School, Annie Griffith and her Community Choirs: Ermine Voices, SCONE, Silver Voices (AgeUK) & Treble Cliff, The Towel Hotel, Ruddocks, St Mary Magdalene Church, Lincolnshire Co op, Davis Trackhire, The Subdean and Chapter of Lincoln Cathedral, Community Response Lincolnshire, SRP Hire Solutions, Highways and Planning, Chevron Traffic Management Ltd, Distract, EE Call Centre Lincoln, Homlet/PIB Trust, Melvyn Prior, Peachy Events, Ringrose Law Solicitors, Sian Hutchings, St John Ambulance, Stuart Wilde Photography Ltd, The Lincoln Camera Club, Wilkin Chapman Solicitors and Wootton Forestry & Powerline Services Limited.

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