A huge crowd gathered Sunday night on the grounds of the Bethesda Regional Health Centre for the annual Gifts of Light ceremony. All the trees on the hospital grounds were lit up as well as some inside the hospital. John Peters, executive director of the Bethesda Foundation, says the fundraiser was very well supported again this year.
"It seemed to start early for us this year. We had early donations and a lot of donations. I think we're well into the $75,000 range again this year so we're very pleased with that. It's a wonderful example of charity in the community."
Peters says the turnout for the tree light may have been the largest ever.
"I'm just really overwhelmed with the tremendous support we've had here tonight. We had a big, big crowd and the weather has been ideal. It was just a great night. I would say this has been the largest crowd for sure. Hank Klassen just told me that he served 400 hot dogs, they're all gone, so that probably means we had well over 400 people here. We're just really gratified to see that many people."
Foundation board member Gladys Derksen was the honorary tree lighter.
Peters the ceremony had a special meaning for him.
"This is my last Gifts of Light that I'm organizing and I just say thank-you to everyone. It's been such a rewarding thing to do. I'm gratified with the response of the community and I hope that continues for many years to come."