A Tree of Honour takes pride of place in every Erskine home this Christmas after the annual light switch on took place last night in each home.
The trees are decorated with Stars of Honour, each one representing a loved one who is missing from family celebrations. Erskine supporters send in their Purple Stars marked with personal messages in memory of someone special. When the trees are full of stars the rest are displayed in the Field of a Thousand Stars at The Erskine Home in Bishopton or within the charity’s four care homes.
Veterans and their families and friends enjoyed the switch on events, with visitors attending to join in the celebrations.
At The Erskine Home in Bishopton there was a candlelight procession through the Veterans Village led by Pony Major Cpl Mark Williamson and Cpl Cruachan IV, Regimental Mascot of the Royal Regiment of Scotland, joined by pupils from Bargarran Primary School; Police Scotland Youth Volunteers with music from Kilbarchan Pipe Band.
Chaplin Graham Morrison conducted a short service which included a dedication of the tree before Scottish musician Alastair McDonald sang and led everyone in the singing of Christmas carols.
Erskine resident Isobel Kirkwood, who celebrated her 99th birthday the day before, switched the lights on the Tree of Honour before everyone moved into the warmth of the home for festive refreshments and music by the Jazz band Swing Sensation.
The Erskine Home Tree of Honour event is sponsored by Central Car Auctions of Glasgow. Central Car Auctions Chairman Jonathan Miller said: “We are delighted to support Erskine’s Tree of Honour. It is a special event that celebrates the festive spirit at Erskine. We are pleased to support the charity and in particular an event that is enjoyed by veterans, families and members of the local community alike.”
In Erskine Edinburgh a similar service was conducted by Minister David Dixon with Christmas Carols sung by children from Gilmerton Primary School. Veterans and their families were then invited to place a star on the tree.
Erskine Chief Executive, Ian Cumming MBE said: “Our Tree of Honour services are a moving start to the Christmas season and offer us the opportunity to remember those service men and women who will be missing from celebrations at this special time of year. For our veterans, those reflections are very personal as they remember colleagues who didn’t come home.
“Special thanks to Central Car Auctions for their long term commitment in support of our veterans.”
Everyone at Erskine would also like to thank Servest who donated The Erskine Home tree and have done for many years.