A hospice in Croydon has announced plans to stage an online bereavement support event amid the ongoing impact of the coronavirus pandemic, to be joined by HRH Princess Alexandra.

St Christopher's Hospice in Croydon said they would be hosting a "poignant online remembrance event for the whole community, to bring everyone together to reflect on the year and remember people who are no longer here."

The hospice hope the event, scheduled for December 6, can provide a sense of shared sense of community in a time when the grieving process is complicated by restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 virus.

Alongside the presence of Princess Alexandra, who is a patron of the hospice, the event will also feature members of the cast of the West End’s Blood Brothers, and acclaimed professional chamber orchestra, the London Mozart Players. 

The Hospice have a charity shop in the town centre, a centre in Sydenham and cares for people in their homes across the borough too.

One of those is Helen Charalambous, a 37-year-old school catering manager from Croydon, who lost her nan, Christine Gibbens, aged 84, earlier this year.

Christine was a carer for vulnerable adults, and in her retirement a Nan to eight grandchildren.

She had moved to south London from Newcastle in her 20s, and spent her last years living at a nursing care home in Thornton Heath.

"When Nan died, one of the hardest things was not being able to gather together as a family to celebrate her life in the way that we and she would’ve wanted," Helen described.

"Only eight of us were allowed to be at her funeral. We’d only lost Grandad last year, who was cared for by St Christopher’s Hospice, and being able to bring together all of our friends and family to share memories and to say goodbye to him was so important and special to us all," she added.

"Whilst it’s not the same, I think knowing that my family, and other families also remembering a loved one, are joining together virtually at a community remembrance event will bring me real comfort."

Andrew Goodhead, Spiritual Care Lead at St Christopher’s Hospice, will be leading the online Remembering with St Christopher’s service.

"Bereavement doesn’t end; it’s lived with, and we stay bereaved," he said.

"Making personal and shared times to remember someone who has died, recognises the on-going ties that we still have with that person."

The event will be live online on Facebook and YouTube on 6 December 2020 at 4pm – it’s free to join and no Facebook or YouTube account is needed.

For step by step instructions and further information, including how to join the event and on how to dedicate a light during the service to someone who has died, click here.