With funerals being held with reduced numbers and Covid restrictions impacting mourning, many people have not been able to say goodbye to loved ones the way they want to.
After an unprecedented year and a half, the Newport Rotary Club is back organising the Tree of Light – to shine a light and remember those loved and lost.
In the run up to Christmas it can be hard without family members or loved ones, so Gareth Lambe, president of the Newport Rotary Club, and his team have worked together to provide the community a way of remembering loved ones at Christmas.
"From our point of view as a rotary club we have always felt it's an opportunity for us as a club to give people something they can do to participate in Christmas," Gareth said.
"There are people I know that say because they are on their own at Christmas now – because of family members moving away or losing their partners – having the chance to do something like this every year really helps them to feel more included.
"I have been to a number of reduced-number Covid funerals and they have been very sad and stiff affairs."
People can fill out a coupon which will be posted in the Advertiser over the coming weeks to dedicate a light on the tree to their loved ones.
Gareth explained: "When I was teaching and taking children to church, we would talk about times when they had visited before. Many would say they had been for weddings, but a number of children would also say to me that a grandparent of theirs had died and they weren't allowed to go to the funeral.
"I have the same feeling going to reduced-numbers funerals – you don't really get to, and you can't, celebrate the life of the person you knew. That's what funerals should be – they ought to be a celebration, not be taken away from people.
"So to be able to sponsor a light is another way of doing that year after year. You never really forget people, and you always want to remember them. So having a light in memory of them is another way to say goodbye.
"After the way things have been the past few years, people have not been able to hold funerals the way they want to, so we hope the Tree of Light will offer another avenue."
A minimum donation of £5 will sponsor a light on the town’s Christmas tree which will be located in the churchyard of St Nicholas’ church. This will be lit with white memorial lights when the town’s Christmas lights are switched on on Friday, November 26.
All the money raised will be shared between the Mayor’s Charities for 2021/22 – which are Cottage Care Centre and Newport League of Friends X-Ray Appeal – and various Rotary-supported good causes.