Residents are being asked to decorate a Christmas tree with memories this year with the iconic firs being placed in more than 60 locations across the south of England.
Southern Co-op is sending special greetings cards to families they have looked after who have lost a loved one this year. The cards include a pop-out star to let their memories shine bright this Christmas.
They are then being invited to place their stars on the memory trees being put up in Southern Co-op branches of The Co-operative Funeralcare throughout December.
These are based in Alton, Andover, Ash Vale, Aylesbury, Basingstoke, Bishops Waltham, Bognor Regis, Bracknell, Brighton, Camberley, Chichester, Cosham, East Cowes, Emsworth, Fareham, Farnborough, Felpham, Fleet, Freshwater, Frome, Gillingham, Gosport, Havant, Hayling Island, Hazlemere, High Wycombe, Hove, Liss, Newport, Peacehaven, Portsmouth, Ryde, Sandown, Shaftesbury, Shanklin, Shoreham by Sea, Sturminster Newton, Uckfield, Warminster, Waterlooville, Wendover, Whitchurch, and Worthing.
Trees will also be located at The Oaks Crematorium in Havant and East Devon Crematorium in Whimple.
The trees are open to everyone in order to give them the opportunity to write a personal message to someone who is no longer with them this Christmas.
Lesley Hadley, Bereavement Coordinator from Southern Co-op’s free Bereavement Care service, said: “This is a meaningful way to acknowledge the absence of our loved ones, and make a start on creating new rituals and traditions that will include them.
“If you are finding this time of year hard, remember to be kind to yourself. It’s okay to spend time in quiet contemplation if you would prefer that to being ‘jollied along’ by well-meaning friends and family.
“Give yourself the opportunity to do what makes you feel most comfortable, rather than what others think you should be doing.”
Information on free bereavement support is available on www.bereavementcare.uk.