THE traditional Tree of Hope organised by Macmillan Cancer Support took place at St Mary’s Church, Easebourne on Thursday.
It was the charity’s 12th annual service which has grown in popularity over the years.
The tree, which once again was donated by Lord and Lady Cowdray and erected and dressed by the Cowdray Estate team, was the focal point of the evening.
The hundreds of lights around the tree represented dedications in memory of loved ones who will not be here this Christmas.
Dedications are entered in Macmillan’s special 2013 Book of Love, which was donated again this year by Aspinal of London and edited by Christine Carey.
The 2012 Book of Love and those of previous years were on display in the church for those who wished to view their dedications.
The Rev Derek Welsman led the service inside St Mary’s, with carols accompanied by the Midhurst Rother College band.
Easebourne Primary School’s junior choir performed two enchanting songs.
Joanna Stuttaford, service lead from the Macmillan palliative care service, read the lesson and Dr Catherine Waight, consultant in palliative medicine, spoke on behalf of the service.
After the service, the congregation went outside for the ‘lighting up’ of the tree by the team of the Macmillan palliative care service.
Mulled wine was prepared by the Cowdray Café, with Jacaranda Catering supplying the wine.
The parish of St Mary’s Church donated all the mince pies and the mulled wine with the mince pies served by Macmillan volunteers from a marquee outside the church donated by Petworth Marquees.
Once again this year, Stagecoach and driver Rob Jones provided the shuttle bus and James Campbell printed the programmes for the service.
Karen Lang, of the Macmillan Midhurst Tree of Hope committee, said: “We are very grateful to all the volunteers who helped make the evening such a great success.
“The Easebourne community are great supporters of this very special Macmillan event which helps raise much needed funds for the Macmillan Midhurst palliative care service, to support their patients and their families living with cancer and other life threatening illnesses in Midhurst and the surrounding 25-mile catchment area.”