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Light the Night remembrance event draws crowds to Bristol church

A Bristol church's initiative to help people remember their loved ones at a candle-lit graveyard remembrance event looks set to become an annual event – and could spark dozens of similar events at churches nationwide.

The imaginative new remembrance event entitled Light the Night was held on 16 November at the graveyard of St Paul’s Church, Bedminster, near Bristol.

A brainwave of George Grace and the team at St Paul’s, the event took its inspiration from different countries around the world – particularly Eastern Europe – that celebrate everything from All Saints Day to the Day of the Dead by inviting people to remember their deceased loved ones by visiting graveyards and cemeteries, and decorating them with candles and flowers.

Thousands of candles and flowers were made available in advance for people to buy and light, helped by a crowdfunding page. And local funeral directors and others also got behind the event.

George explained “We wanted to create a beautiful, positive, inclusive and perhaps spiritual experience for religious and non-religious people alike.”

Visitors described the event as “beautiful”, “soulful”, and “welcoming” and it was covered by local BBC TV and radio.

Canon Nick Hay, priest-in-charge of St Paul's Church, told the BBC: "I think rituals are really important to people but we don't have many rituals about death in the UK.

"We've hidden death away, shoved it in the corner. This is something that people can access in a very easy way to maybe give thanks or remember and there's not many spaces in our culture to do that."

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