A Peace light which has been travelling from Bethlehem to Britain every Christmas for 20 years was welcomed to The James Cook University Hospital.
Children from Playdays Nursery on the hospital site sang Christmas songs, as an altar candle was lit in the Chapel of the Good Samaritan using the Peace Light, brought in by The Fourth South Bank Scout Group leader Arthur Wooff.
This year, Arthur collected the light from Luton. It had made the journey from Jesus Christ’s grotto of birth in Bethlehem to Austria, before travelling to the rest of Europe.
He said: “The light first came to Britain in 1996. I’ve been involved with bringing the Peace Light to the local area since 1999, including travelling down South to pick it up myself every year since 2002.
“We always make a point of bringing it to the chapel at the hospital. We bring it here in the hope people will spread the word of light and peace.
“The light itself is only a symbol. But that symbol is deep and it means a lot to me.”
Arthur explained the tradition of spreading a light of peace from Bethlehem began in 1986, a decade before it first came to Britain.
It was originally organised by the Austrian Broadcasting Authority as part of a charitable relief mission for those in need in Austria and abroad, but the idea was later taken up by other countries when the Austrian Scout movement got the Boy Scouts and Girl Guides of Europe involved.
Marie Edwards, who led a short service accepting the light, explained it comes with the wish that the message of peace can be passed on to everyone.
“We light this light in the hospital in the hope that people who come to the chapel feel at peace and take comfort from it,” she said.
“It is a reminder of the message of peace which the birth of Jesus brought to the world.”
The peace light will remain in the Chapel of The Good Samaritan until Epiphany on January 6.