In my role as a funeral celebrant, I learn so much from every single family I work with.

I learn about remarkable ways in which people have lived their lives; people’s spirituality; music that I have never heard before; and, crucially for this column, I learn more about different charities and the work that they do. It is usual practice these days to choose a charity to which people can donate in memory of their precious mum or dad or friend.

And the most popular charity that families choose is Hospiscare. Tragically, all too many people know the wonderful ways in which Hospiscare supports terminally ill patients and their families because they have first-hand knowledge.

Very sadly in our line of work, we meet many of these families and they all speak of what a blessing Hospiscare was to them, and how a sad situation was made just that bit more bearable by the care they received.

We, at Shoobridge Funeral Services, were privileged to sponsor their Light up a Life events before Christmas; we are just as proud to sponsor their thoughtful new initiative, Ribbons of Remembrance, this spring, as they continue to support families they have journeyed with at very difficult times in their lives.

Ribbons of Remembrance allows anyone mourning the loss of a loved one to dedicate a ribbon in their memory which will then be displayed on trees in Exeter city centre.

Together, the ribbons will create a colourful and moving tribute to those we will never forget. Let’s celebrate the unique colour that our special people brought to our lives as we move into spring and summer.

Everyone is invited to take part, whether your loss is recent or many years ago, and regardless of whether they were cared for by Hospiscare. I am honoured to have been asked to lead the memorial service on March 23rd at Broadwalk House Garden, Exeter, at 10.30 a.m.

One of the stand-out comments that many people will make is that Hospiscare didn’t just look after their loved one, they looked after the whole family. I have lost count of the number of times someone has said this to me. And I will have those families in my mind on March 23.

Hospiscare’s work is vital to so many of us. The recent news that it is facing a £2.5 million funding gap – which could lead to the service being reduced – is hugely worrying. Despite the amazing fundraising which raises millions of pounds each year, it receives only 18 per cent of its costs from Government funding, in comparison to the national average of 37 per cent. We have written to the Devon Integrated Care Board and you can, too; look on Hospiscare’s website for details.