Spread a little light

PUBLISHED: 13:51 30 November 2006 | UPDATED: 13:39 04 May 2010

LIGHTS OF LOVE: Send a special message at Ely’s Palace Green courtesy of Sue Ryder Care.

LIGHTS OF LOVE: Send a special message at Ely's Palace Green courtesy of Sue Ryder Care.

SUE Ryder Care has been offering permanent and respite care at the Old Palace in the heart of Ely since 1984. LESLEY INNES looks at its Christmas fund-raiser, which gives people the opportunity to celebrate someone special by sponsoring a Light of Love an

LIGHTS OF LOVE: Send a special message at Ely’s Palace Green courtesy of Sue Ryder Care.

SUE Ryder Care has been offering permanent and respite care at the Old Palace in the heart of Ely since 1984.

LESLEY INNES looks at its Christmas fund-raiser, which gives people the opportunity to celebrate someone special by sponsoring a Light of Love and boosting cash for the charity at the same time.

STARS will be shining on a Christmas tree on Ely's Palace Green carrying special messages from around the county for the festive season.

The Lights of Love will represent dedications in memory of a loved-one or just simple greetings to friends and relatives.

This festive light show is being organised by the city's Sue Ryder Care organisation, and each star will bring much-needed funds to help the team at the charity's centre at the Old Palace to carry on their work.

Dedications will also be listed in a commemorative book, which will be on display at the Old Palace and each donation will be acknowledged with a Christmas card.

The celebrations will take place on Saturday, December 9, from 5.30pm to 8.30pm when the tree lights will be switched on. Music will be provided by a brass band and there will be crafts stalls and the chance to enjoy mulled wine and mince pies.

Donations can be made by collecting a form from the Old Palace, the Ely Standard office in Market Street or by visiting the Sue Ryder Care stall at the Ely Lights Switch-On tomorrow (Friday). Some households will also receive a form through the post.

"By making a donation of your choice you can shine a light for someone whether it is in memory or celebration of a loved one or simply to send a Christmas greeting to a friend or relative," said charity fundraiser Suzanne Ellington.

"You will have the opportunity to hang a star on the tree with your own personal message on it."

The Old Palace was originally the home of the bishops of Ely Cathedral, but has also been a convalescence home to servicemen and a school for physically disabled children.

Since 1984 it has been part of Sue Ryder Care, providing permanent and respite care for young, physically disabled people and those illnesses associated with the brain.

In Cambridgeshire there is a particularly high incidence of Huntington's Disease and the team at Ely has

developed particular expertise in this area. A specialist wing on the ground floor caters specifically for people with this condition.

The team not only looks after the needs of its residents but also their families and friends.

But this specialist care does not come cheaply and the Old Palace costs £2.1 million a year to run. This figure does not include upgrading equipment, activities and days out for the 43 residents or any other

unexpected costs.

Although the centre receives funding from the Government there is a £150,000 shortfall in meeting its yearly running costs and a programme of fundraising is on-going.

INFO: Contact Sue Ryder Care on 01353 663357.

Sue Ryder Care

SUE Ryder, the founder of the Sue Ryder Care charity, began her charity work after witnessing the extreme courage and human suffering during the Second World War.

She served with the Polish section of the secret Special Operations Executive working to help the resistance fighters.

After the war she began relief work for the millions of sick, homeless and destitute across the world, confronting poverty and disease.

The Sue Ryder Care charity was established in 1953 with the opening of its first nursing home in Suffolk. Today, the charity has 18 care centres and 430 shops in the UK and provides international services stretching from Macedonia to Malawi.

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