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Wathall’s Memorial Service Goes Online

The Annual Celebration of Remembrance and Hope gives families time to remember loved ones as Christmas approaches.

Here at Wathall’s, we have teamed up with Derby Cathedral to ensure that local people can still take time to remember their loved ones with a special pre-recorded service that will be available online.

First held in 2008, Wathall’s annual Celebration of Remembrance and Hope is usually attended by more than 800 people at the Cathedral – but this year will be different.

Due to Covid restrictions, the service will now be virtual and available to watch at the time when the physical service would have been held – on Thursday, December 10 at 6.30pm – and then at any time through a link on our website.

The service is available to watch free of charge with the order of service available to download online.  Alternatively, a printed order of service can be posted by calling us on 01332 345268

Filmed by Derby company Future Proof Films, the service will start with an introduction by Helen Wathall MBE who is the fifth generation of our family to head up the business.

The Dean of Derby The Revd Dr Peter Robinson will welcome everyone to the service and then give the address.  The greeting and Act of Remembrance will be led by the Cathedral’s Canon Precentor The Revd Richard Andrews.

The Cathedral Choir will lead the advent carols and also recite the poignant Psalm 23 and Fauré’s ‘In Pardisium’.

Wathalls' Memorial Service 2020In keeping with tradition, the service will finish with the moving poem by a 13-year-old boy ‘My First Christmas in Heaven’.

Instead of the usual procession to hang a star and message on the Christmas tree in the Cathedral, everyone will be invited to light a candle at home to signify remembrance and hope.  Wathall’s is also inviting families to send them stars and messages which will adorn the trees in the windows of the branch offices in Derby, Alvaston, Ashbourne, Borrowash and Burton-on-Trent.

Helen Wathall said: “Christmas can be an especially difficult time of year when the ‘empty chair’ at the table is particularly poignant – regardless of how far people are in their grief journey.

“The Celebration of Remembrance and Hope is, therefore, a welcome opportunity to draw on the calm positivity that runs through this service.

“We organised the first service in 2008 and it has grown every year with some people returning every December to remember a family member – joined by those who have been more recently bereaved.

“We are obviously disappointed not to be meeting up in person this year to offer our support to the hundreds of people who usually join us in the Cathedral.

“I hope that, through the darkness of grief and sorry, we can all be lifted by the promise of life, light and hope through the virtual service.”

Wathall’s chooses a different charity each year to receive donations made in person and online and this year we will be supporting Derby & Burton Hospitals Charity Covid-19 Support Appeal to help the hospitals through the pandemic but also to enable them to support staff and patients in the transitional period afterwards.

More information will be available of how you can attend, along with a downloadable version of the ‘Order of Service’ within the next few days so please keep an eye on our social media and website for more details.

We will also share details of our award-winning Dandelions Bereavement Support programme with support groups currently meeting online before being able to join together again monthly in Derby and Ashbourne.

For more information about the Celebration of Remembrance of Hope and Dandelions Bereavement Support, please call us 01332 345268 or contact us via our online form