Festival Events 2020

COVID-19 has changed the ways we are able to share stories and solace, so the 2020 festival looked different from in previous years. Communities found new ways to come together - gatherings were smaller and more distanced, and more took place online. In these difficult times, the To Absent Friends Festival remained a valued opportunity for sharing memories and human connection.

Trees for remembrance

Organised by the Letham Feuars' Committee. 1-7 November.

These recent months have been difficult for everyone, expecially those who have lost someone and have not been able to have the same friends and family support which we all need when experiencing loss.

With this thought in mind the Letham Feurars' Committee are inviting local people to plant trees in memory of someone who has died. Information boards will be erected with information about the trees, how they support the natural environment and the names of absent friends.

For more information get in touch with the Letham Feurars' Committee: lethamfeuars@hotmail.com

Remembering Absent Friends

Organised by St Andrew's Hospice, Lanarkshire, 1-30 November.

Normally St Andrew’s Hospice invites the families of people who have died in the hospice to attend a Remembrance Service in the Hospice Chapel. However, current coronavirus restrictions mean that won't be possible this year, so the hospice are planning a virtual opportunity for families to remember their loved ones.

As part of the To Absent Friends festival, St Andrew's Hospice is creating a virtual remembrance webpage where families can leave a photograph and dedication of the person who has died. The hospice hopes that this will go some way to providing some solace and comfort to the families they have looked after this year.

When the wind blows

Organised by the Inverclyde Shed, 1-7 November

The local community around Inverclyde are invited to join in with the sowing a wild flower meadow in commemoration of their loved ones who have died.

The meadow is located in a sheltered quiet contemplative memorial garden space with purpose built benches and path. This November, wind chimes and birdboxes will be installed in the surrounding trees as part of the To Absent Friends Festival. The individual acts of commemoration will cummulatively leave a lasting colourful remembrance for generations.

The Corner

Taking place throughout November

Taking inspiration from the Truacanta Perthshire project, The Corner is creating a ‘feathered wings’ display to mark the To Absent Friends festival this November. The wings will be created by two young artists from Dundee Young Carers in the coming weeks. Young people’s feelings are not always addressed when it comes to death and grieving, and the aim is to create a window display that engages young people and the general public with these issues and raises awareness of support The Corner can offer.

Teenage years, although fun, can also prove to be an emotional time. If a young person loses a someone it can be incredibly difficult for them, and they may feel like their world has come crashing down. The Corner currently offers one to one support and counselling services to all young people (11-19 years and up to and including 25 years if vulnerable).


The Sanctuary, University Hospital Hairmyres, 2-30 November.

COVID-19 imposed many restrictions on the way families could be with loved ones especially at the end of their lives. This has had a profound impact upon the grieving process; leading to expressions of increased sense of guilt, helplessness and loss. This also holds true for staff who have felt more acutely the deaths of their patients sometimes whilst grieving for their own family or friends.

In response, The ‘Echoes Project’ seeks to provide a range of ways to enable people to express their deep sense of grief and loss. Reflecting the uniqueness of individuals, a variety of options will be provided for people to articulate their feelings through words or a visual image; a butterfly, heart or ribbon.

Displays will remain in the Sanctuary for at least one year.

For more information contact Chaplains Tricia, Avril or Joe on 01355 584301 or email Patricia.Johnston@lanarkshire.scot.nhs.uk or Avril.Cutler@lanarkshire.scot.nhs.uk

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