Peter Mulholland, Mulhollands Funeral Directors; Julian Hodgkinson, Regional Development Director, Funeral Partners; Very Rev Stephen Forde, Belfast Cathedral; Thelma Abernethy, Head of Cruse Bereavement Support NI; and James Brown, James Brown & Sons; at ‘Light Up the Night – An Occasion to Remember’, a service in Belfast Cathedral organised by Funeral Partners NI and Cruse Bereavement Support NI.

Belfast Cathedral provided a poignant setting for an emotional and uplifting ceremony, ‘Light Up the Night – An Occasion to Remember’, organised by Funeral Partners NI and Cruse Bereavement Support NI.

The ceremony was designed to honour and remember those who passed away in recent years, providing a source of comfort and support for families during the Christmas season which can be an especially difficult period associated with loss.

Hosted by the Very Rev Stephen Forde, the service unfolded with families having the opportunity to place tokens on remembrance trees in honour of their departed loved ones. These trees will stand within the Cathedral until Christmas Day, serving as a collective symbol of remembrance.

Featuring moving music from the Cathedral Choir and a solo harpist, poignant readings and poetry, a moment of silence was also included and representatives from various traditions led prayers, emphasising unity and shared compassion.


Speaking at the event, the Very Rev Stephen Forde expressed: “We trust you will find some comfort in the words and music you will hear today and in coming together with others who find themselves in similar circumstances to yours.”

James Brown of James Brown & Sons said: “We stand alongside our communities with compassion, having witnessed the profound impact of loss over the years. This event offers unique moments of solace, bringing a collective embrace to those travelling on the difficult journey of grief. Through Funeral Partners support, we have been able to create an environment which will hopefully bring some healing to those who are experiencing loss. It is excellent that Cruse Bereavement Support are key partners with us, their much-needed service and support will no doubt benefit those experiencing grief in the days ahead.”

Teams from funeral homes across the Funeral Partners network were on hand to help with the event and chat with those in attendance, and Cruse volunteers offered bereavement support. Several attendees expressed their thanks for being invited to the ceremony which they commented had lifted their spirits and allowed some time out of their busy lives to reflect and remember those that they had lost.

Funeral Partners is the UK’s third largest funeral business with more than 240 funeral homes staffed by over 1000 dedicated funeral professionals serving communities across England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. These include: James Brown & Sons, Mulhollands Funeral Directors, Houston & Williamson, John Gray & Co; and Shields of Donaghadee.