Thousand candles to light up Swanage Beach for loved ones

A hospice care charity is organising a festival of lights on Swanage Beach to reflect, celebrate and remember everyone we love and care about.

Candles on the Beach, a spectacular display of a thousand candles on the sand with music from local musicians and a reflective reading is being planned by Lewis-Manning Hospice Care for Saturday 10th December 2022.

Swanage Beach at low tide

Swanage Beach will be the backdrop to a thousand candles

Moving celebration of lives lived well

Similar events have been held very successfully on the lake at Poole Park, and organisers feel that with the seashore setting at Swanage and the town’s reputation for community support, Candles on the Beach may well outshine anything that has gone before.

The event will start at 5 pm just as dusk falls, and the beach near The Mowlem will be lit up by a thousand candles in a moving celebration of lives lived well.

It had originally been planned for 2023, but following support from local families and Swanage Town Council, the charity decided to hold an event before Christmas.


The last Lewis-Manning fundraiser was Candles on the Lake at Poole Park

Perfect opportunity to remember loved ones

Lewis-Manning fundraising manager Vicki Gray said:

“It will be a community coming together to celebrate the lives of loved ones, and a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the past, with the support of people in similar circumstances.

“It is a very touching event, bringing people together, and we have learned how strong community spirit is in Swanage, so we are expecting this to be a magical and emotional evening.”

The candles used are LED lights for safety, in reusable cases which can be personalised, safely placed on the sand so as not to affect wildlife or cause damage.

All the flameless candles are collected at the end of the evening by volunteers to ensure there is no litter and to reuse them for future events.


The Lewis-Manning hospice at Poole is not perfect for the needs of Purbeck

Day care hub set up at rugby club

Lewis-Manning Hospice Care was set up in 1992 for those with life-limiting illnesses with a centre in Poole, but recently the charity identified a need to provide support and outreach in Swanage, Wareham and other Purbeck communities.

A hub was established at Swanage and Wareham Rugby Club for one day a week, which provides social interaction and arts and crafts therapy as well as clinical intervention.

At the same time, Lewis-Manning also provided more nurses and support to make home visits in Purbeck and, with lottery funding for tablets, a virtual day hospice service has also been set up for those who can’t attend in person.


Fundraising manager Vicki Gray at Lewis-Manning’s 30th birthday celebration

“We were one of the best kept secrets in Purbeck”

Vicki said:

“When we looked at a three-year strategy for Lewis-Manning, we saw that the key was opening up hubs in the community. The Swanage and Wareham hub was opened with trials in July and fully launched in September, and has been a great success.

“We have 10 people coming for day hospice care once a week; we also run our better breathing clinics out of Swanage Hospital once a week and opened a shop in Swanage to help raise awareness and raise funds.

“For many years we were one of the best kept secrets in Dorset – now we want everyone to know what we do! All our services are free, and these community events are so important to us.”

Great British Bake Off contestant Maggie helped raise funds for Lewis-Manning

Great British Bake Off contestant Maggie helped Lewis-Manning raise funds at their Dorset Tea Party

The charity needs to raise £2.3 million a year

Vicki added:

“We offer free hospice care services to help people to live well through their illness, closer to home, including wellbeing support, bereavement and family support, therapy and of course our day hospice services.

“Some 600 local people are supported every year, but the charity needs to raise more than £2.3 million each year and without these funds we could not exist.

“Our important work increases people’s physical and social well-being, reduces isolation and loneliness, supports people to stay in their homes longer, and alleviates the huge pressures on family and carers.”

Clinical staff Yewande Akinlade, Jo Foster, Nicky Charrett, Hayley Bonner, Debbie Tallick-Wyatt and Louise Hople
Richard Crease

Staff at the recent opening of Lewis-Manning Hospice Care shop in Swanage

Donation of £5 a candle

The evening is free for all to join, but supporters are being encouraged to make a donation of £5 a candle – they can be reserved online, but will also be available on the evening at the event.

Personalised messages can be written on the candle holder and there will be music performed by local artists and a short reflective reading before volunteers place candles on the sand to create a magical display of lights.

All money raised on the night will be used to fund family support and bereavement services and hospice daycare facilities in Purbeck.

Sunflowers at opening of the Lewis Manning shop in Swanage

Sunflowers are the symbol of Lewis-Manning Hospice Care

Further information

More about Candles on the Beach and the work of Lewis-Manning Hospice Care is on its website:

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