Thomas Theyer Foundation's Lake of Lights event to remember loved ones in Buxton Pavilion Gardens
A Buxton charity providing outdoor education activities for children has announced the return of a town centre fundraising event helping people to cast their thoughts of lost friends and family in a new light as Christmas approaches.
The festive season can bring particularly challenging moments for anyone who has suffered a bereavement, so the Thomas Theyer Foundation (TTF) is hoping its event on Saturday, December 4, can provide a peaceful, beautiful environment where people can pause to reflect on their loss.
Chief executive Chris Theyer, who founded the charity to help children like her own, said: “We know how difficult Christmas can be since losing our son Thomas and we recognise it is difficult for many other people who have lost a loved one.
“The Lake of Lights is a gentle, supportive event where people can remember their loved ones.”
The event is open to everyone, and will see a flotilla of battery tea lights launched on the Pavilion Gardens boating lake as Buxton community choir sings from the shore, against the backdrop of an atmospheric laser display.
People can reserve lights in advance by making a minimum donation of £10 and adding a dedication message, then collect them at the lake 5.30-6.30pm on the night. Some of the dedications will then be read out before the lights are pushed out on to the water.
The first event in 2019 saw 750 people take part, raising £2,435, and hundreds more were involved in a virtual event last winter where ribbons were tied to the Pavilion Gardens bandstand.
Thomas Theyer was 18 when he died in 2013. Diagnosed with dyspraxia and attention deficit disorder at a young age, he found great relief in running with Buxton Athletics Club Juniors and other outdoor activities.
His family set up the foundation to help other young people enjoy the same physical and mental health benefits, particularly those with special educational needs or difficult life circumstances.
At the time, Chris said: “As a family we want to see if we can do something to help other children and young adults like Thomas and their families. Thomas once said if he won the lottery, he would give it all away to charity and he probably would have. We want Thomas not to be forgotten and to do something good in his name.”
To date, the charity has managed to help more than 300 children, including 170 who have visited White Hall Outdoor Education Centre on the outskirts of Buxton between the lockdowns of the last two years.
It is currently raising money to repurpose a building at White Hall to provide residential accommodation for visitors, which could be used during respite breaks and extended stays.
This year, the foundation also launched a free online or face-to-face counselling service for the children and young people it supports, as well as paid options for their families and the wider community.
The TTF Sports and Outdoor Charity shop, at 1 London Road, Buxton, is now open Monday to Saturday, 9.30am to 5pm and is a great place to recycle sports and outdoor clothing and equipment.
For more details on the Lake of Lights and how to take part, see www.justgiving.com/campaign/lakeoflights21.
To learn more about the charity and its work, see thomastheyerfoundation.org.uk.