Memorial Service Gives Families Time to Remember Loved Ones

More than 700 people attended a special Service of Thanksgiving and Hope at Derby Cathedral, organised by Derby and Ashbourne family-owned funeral directors, G. Wathall & Son Ltd.

Donations collected raised more than £1,350 for this year’s chosen charity which is The Laura Centre Derby who help local families when a child dies, or is bereaved. Wathall’s hold the memorial service every year – inviting families who have lost loved ones during this and past years, as well as representatives from local churches, hospitals and nursing homes.

The early evening inter-faith service included Christmas carols, readings and finished with the moving poem by a 13-year-old boy ‘My First Christmas in Heaven’. Families were then invited to light a candle and hang a message of remembrance on a memory Christmas tree. Among those attending again this year was widower George Daly (73) from Chaddesden whose wife Julie died in May 2013 soon after the couple celebrated their Golden wedding anniversary. George regularly attends Wathalls’ bereavement support group Derby Dandelions which meets on the last Tuesday of every month at the Cathedral Café in Iron Gate in Derby’s Cathedral Quarter between 2pm and 4pm.

A second group has now been set up to support people who can’t attend during the day – meeting at the Markeaton Hotel in Kedleston Road between 7pm and 9pm also on the last Tuesday of every month. George, a retired fitter and welder, said: “This is the second time I have attended the service and I found it a very up-lifting experience. “Christmas is obviously the time when you most miss loved ones who have died. “However, the service is not a time of mourning. I found it a lovely way of wishing Julie Happy Christmas and remembering the happy times that we had together. “I left feeling much more at peace and ready to move on and enjoy Christmas with the rest of the family.”

G. Wathall & Son Managing Director Helen Wathall explained: “We organised the first service in 2008 and it has grown every year with some people coming every year to remember a family member – joined by those who have been more recently bereaved. “The memorial service is an opportunity to remember their loved ones at what is an especially difficult time of year. “Every year we support a local charity at the service and expect to raise around £1,000 for The Laura Centre Derby, who have been especially helpful to my family this year following the sudden loss of my fiancé Paul in March.

For more information about Derby Dandelions and Grief Journey Derby programme, please call G. Wathall & Son Ltd, Tel: 01332 345268 or visit

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