CHESHIRE – Cheshire’s Lights of Hope event has gone from a few illuminated streets in town to a massive town wide undertaking. Lights of Hope’s mission statement is to “unite our community to light up our town and create a brighter world” through volunteering and donations.
Because of the huge impact the organization has had on the community, Lights of Hope President Don Walsh presented multiple letters at a Town Council meeting last month. The letters, from Lights of Hope and the Cheshire High School Lights of Hope Club, asked council members to support the organization’s proposal to rename the portion of the Farmington Canal Trail between Cornwall Avenue and West Main Street “The Trail of Hope”.
Cheshire’s Lights of Hope is a local organization that was started in 2005 as a way to unify the local community. In 2007 the event expanded in the aftermath of the Petit home invasion murders that left a mother and her two daughters dead.
“When I think of Cheshire, I think of two things: The trail and Lights of Hope,” said Linda Blackburn, a member of the Lights of Hope organization, and the one who came up with the idea to rename the trail. “So a group of us took some time and put these letters together in hopes of solidifying these important Cheshire staples.”
The proposal received unanimous support from the Town Council. Chairman Rob Oris immediately voiced his approval for the renaming during the Sept. 19 meeting.
“Although there is a process and procedure to be undertaken for naming anything in the community,” he said, “I will support this naming request and I commend the work both Don and Jenifer (Walsh) have done for the Cheshire community through this charity.”
Doug Noble, vice president of the Farmington Canal Rail-to-Trail Association, also addressed the Council.
“We appreciate Cheshire and everything it has done for the Linear Trail,” he remarked. “This proposal to name a section of the trail is an opportunity to show appreciation to the Lights of Hope organization, which has been an important facet in our community for years.”
Lights of Hope was created as an effort to help raise money for various charities, such as multiple sclerosis and cancer research. Residents can purchase luminaries to line their streets for one night each November. This year’s event is Nov. 9.
Anyone who would like to know more about Cheshire’s Lights of Hope can visit https://cheshireslightsofhope.com/.