A CHARITY is holding a special service for families to remember babies they have lost this Christmas.
The first Lights of Love service takes place at St Thomas’s Church in Longroyd Bridge on Friday this week.
It has been organised by the Huddersfield branch of Sands, the stillbirth and neonatal charity.
The support group, based at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary, was set up by local couple Gareth and Rachael Brann.
The service is part of a series of nine evenings being held across the UK, but is the only event for Yorkshire.
The evenings are aimed at parents, family and friends of those whose baby has died.
In Huddersfield the service will feature traditional carols, inspirational readings and music.
Families will be able to sponsor a light on the Lights of Love Christmas tree.
They can add a special message in memory of their daughter or son.
A total of 17 babies are stillborn or die shortly after birth every day in the UK – amounting to almost 6,500 baby deaths a year.
Rachael and Gareth, who live in Linthwaite, were inspired to start the local group after their own heartbreak.
They lost their son Mason at 22 weeks and Sands helped them through their unexpected bereavement.
The couple, who have two-year-old son Ethan, are today seeing the Lindley-based group go from strength to strength.
Rachael said: “The death of a baby or another loved one is difficult to bear at any time of the year.
“Yet at Christmas, with so much emphasis on children, families and sharing happy times together, those feelings of grief can so often seem even more acute.
“This is the first Lights of Love service to he hosted in Huddersfield.
“We hope that people find the evening provides them with a time of peace and reflection and an opportunity to cherish the short time they had with their baby.”
The Huddersfield service starts at 7.30pm.
Other similar evening events are being hosted the same day in Cardiff, Guernsey, London, Liverpool, Norwich, Nottingham, Portadown and Stirling.