Christmas Tree Collection Archives - East Cheshire Hospice

2021 Christmas Tree Collection Total

The Christmas tree collection in aid of East Cheshire Hospice raised a record £150,000 this year.

Delighted co-founder of the scheme Richard Raymond said: “It’s our 21st year, so we’ve come of age with a bang.”

Around 1,000 trees were collected over three days last month once lockdown restrictions were eased – a sixth of the trees that would have been recycled had the collection not been postponed from January.

Most donors got rid of trees themselves and some who had not even registered also made donations.

The funds are enough to provide palliative care for three weeks at the Hospice which needs £7,500 a day to keep its doors open.

 

Tree collection co-founders Richard Raymond (left) and Pete Chapman.

 

Richard said: “We did get some bemused looks as we carried dead old brown Christmas trees at the end of April, but it gave us the opportunity to tell people about the collection and the Hospice.

“People knew about the plight of charities and the Hospice, in particular, because of Covid-19 and they were even more generous with their donations this year with the average amount donated per tree going up.

“It’s a wonderful indication of the community in which we serve that people put their hands so deep into their pockets. Their generosity is quite overwhelming and we thank them sincerely.”

Richard and fellow co-founder Pete Chapman will now get a break of a couple of months before they start planning the next collection in January 2022.

 

Volunteer Mel Curwen helps out during the Christmas tree collection.

Local Businesses Provide Support For Delayed Christmas Tree Collection

Loyal businesses continue to play a key part helping the East Cheshire Hospice tree collection scheme run smoothly.

Cheshire Vehicle Rental has been providing vans for the last 18 years, while Bosley-based King Feeders has been lending shredders for 16 years.

The mulching machines, operated by Ansa Environmental Services staff at West Park, have recycled trees into compost for parks, gardens and Cheshire farmland.

Andrew Billing has owned King Feeders, suppliers of agricultural machinery, for more than 45 years.

He said: “The Hospice does great work caring for people with life-limiting illnesses and we’re delighted we can help the tree collection campaign raise much-needed funds.”

Managing director John Kirkby, who started Cheshire Vehicle Rental more than 50 years ago, said: “Our company is full of admiration for the volunteers who put so much effort in on behalf of the charity and we’re extremely proud to be involved in such a great local cause.

“The Hospice is self-funding and depends on contributions from our community to continue with this vital role of care and support for those in need. Let’s all pull together to ensure the Hospice meets its required objectives.”

Richard Raymond, co-founder of the collection scheme now in its 21st year, said: “We get lots of assistance  in many different ways and the long-standing support of these two companies shows the affection held for the Hospice. We thank them for their commitment.”

Catherine Mooney from Cheshire Vehicle Rental which has been supporting the Christmas tree collection since 2003.

Better Late Than Never For Christmas Tree Collection

East Cheshire Hospice finally held its long-awaited Christmas tree collection last week, three months later than planned.

A reduced team of 25 volunteers collected around 1,100 trees after lockdown restrictions were eased.

Five vans shuttled across the region delivering trees to the Ansa recycling plant at West Park, Macclesfield.

More than 6,000 trees had been registered for collection, with most donors disposing trees themselves when the scheme was delayed because of Covid-19.

However, organisers promised to collect trees once rules changed and, true to their word, honoured that pledge.

 

From left, Tina and Richard Raymond with co-founder of the collection Pete Chapman and Hospice Community Fundraiser Carley Macey.    

 

Scheme co-founder Richard Raymond said: “We want to thank the people who kept their trees for their patience. We had great fun collecting them, even though our team was smaller in number.

“The postponement in January was a devastating decision we had to take and was a blow to all our plans.  But there we were, doing it again and this time with more daylight hours which meant we could collect for longer.

“It’s important to thank our amazing volunteers for their commitment to doing the job in this Covid crisis.

“They were really excited to be out there and felt cheated they couldn’t go out and pick up trees in January.

“There was no shortage of volunteers and some wondered why we were doing it during the week, preferring the collection to be at the weekend when they weren’t working.

“We realise it wasn’t the big happy band it normally is, but we’ll be back in business with a full scale operation as usual next year.”

 

Volunteers Sally and Pete Broughton collecting Christmas trees.

 

The collection, sponsored by AstraZeneca and adhering to Covid guidelines, saw two volunteers on each van with routes mapped out.

Organisers will announce soon the total raised this year, a sum increased by donations from those even without a tree for collection who contributed once they knew how much the Christmas tree scheme means financially to the Hospice.

Richard said: “The goodwill has been amazing and we also want to thank from the bottom of our hearts  those who made a donation and disposed of trees themselves.

“It’s made an enormous difference to the Hospice to have the Christmas tree collection money coming in, especially at the turn of the year when, in normal circumstances, there aren’t many fundraising events. That was the case even more last winter because of Covid.”

Rearranging the Christmas Tree Collection

Does anyone still have a Christmas tree that needs collecting?

True to its word East Cheshire Hospice is keeping a promise to pick up trees registered under its collection scheme.

The service had to be postponed once Cheshire went back into lockdown at the start of the year.

The vast majority of donors refused the offer of a refund to help the Hospice financially.

Some even contributed even though they were not among more than 6,000 registrations for the tree collection.

The collection is now scheduled for the week of April 19 following the easing of restrictions, though plans would be reviewed if the government road map out of lockdown changes.

The team are contacting supporters asking if they still have a tree for collection. A date will be arranged that week once numbers and locations are known.

Staff at the Ansa recycling plant in West Park in 2019.

Community Fundraiser Carley Macey said: “It’s impossible to tell at this point how many remaining trees need collecting. That’s why we’re sending out an email to figure out how many vans and volunteers we need.

“If you no longer need your tree collecting please do nothing and we’ll assume that anyone who doesn’t complete the form no longer requires collection.

“We want to thank everyone for their patience. This has been an extremely difficult situation for the collection organisers, volunteers and the Hospice. With so many people involved in making the collection happen, the safety of everyone must be our top priority.”

Christmas Tree Collection team are aware that 66 people have disposed of their own tree so far.  The delayed collection is for trees already registered and no new registrations can be taken.

Supporters’ generosity means the tree campaign alone has already paid for 20 days of care so far. It costs £7,500 a day for the charity to provide its services free of charge.

Carley said: “We received such an encouraging response when we announced our decision to postpone.

“While we did receive some requests for a refund, we also saw such generosity from our community from additional donations made towards the collection and the Hospice.

“We’re so incredibly grateful and humbled by these gestures and while we celebrate the amount raised, it also puts into perspective the funds we need to generate all the time.”

* To get your registered tree collected, or make a donation, visit www.echtrees.org.uk

Volunteers before the2020 Christmas tree collection.

Helen Adamson Walks for the Hospice

Helen Adamson decided to branch out with her own fundraising once this year’s tree collection for East Cheshire Hospice was called off.

She walked an average of more than six miles every day last month, raising more than £3,500 in the process for the Hospice.

Helen explained: “It all started after a conversation with my husband Richard who helps with the tree collection each year.

“Once it was postponed, I decided to do something in a small way to help raise funds for the Hospice.

“It was also my 60th birthday last month, so I asked family and friends to donate to the Hospice instead of buying presents.

“I love walking and thought it’d be good to set myself a little challenge by walking at least three miles every day with a family member or friend in January.

“I ended up doing a lot more than that, completing 214 miles altogether. Two of my favourite walking routes are Hare Hill and Shutlingsloe.

“The support I’ve had has been incredible and every single pound raised will go to the Hospice which needs a lot of fundraising to provide its excellent care.”

Helen raised £6,000 for Macmillan last year by walking 26 miles around Coniston Water after she was unable to run the virtual London marathon due to spinal problems.

She was deputy manager of Macmillan Cancer Information and Support Centre at Wythenshawe Hospital before retiring in June last year.

* To sponsor Helen visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com/HelenAdamson2

Helen Adamson who walked an average of more than six miles each day in January. 

Donations for Postponed Christmas Tree Collection

East Cheshire Hospice is hoping the public will let it keep donations made for the Christmas tree collection.

Refunds are available – or trees will be collected once lockdown eventually ends – but the Hospice hopes supporters will help ease its financial plight by not asking for donations to be returned.

However, it says it quite understands if people prefer a refund because trees cannot be collected on the weekend originally specified.

A Hospice statement said: “If you would like us to keep your kind donation towards the collection, you don’t need to do anything, and we thank you so much as this will make a real difference at this difficult time.

“If you would still like your tree to be collected on the re-arranged date, you don’t need to do anything, we will be in touch closer to the time with more information about this once a new date is safe and possible.

“If you would like a refund for your donation towards the Christmas tree collection campaign, please notify us by completing the form on our website.

“Please note, if we don’t hear from you to request a refund, your kind donation will be gratefully accepted and will make a real difference at this difficult time.

“Thank you for your continued support.”

To find out more about the postponed collection click here.

The recycling operation at an East Cheshire Hospice Christmas tree collection.

Christmas Tree Collection Postponed

Devastated organisers have apologised after reluctantly calling off the East Cheshire Hospice Christmas tree collection.

The decision to cancel last weekend’s collection was forced upon organisers after the country went into a new national lockdown.

A refund will be offered to more than 6,000 customers who had registered their trees on the charity’s website www.echtrees.org.uk.

Donors can decline that option if they wish, helping the Hospice financially during the toughest time in its 32-year history.

Another option is for customers to have their trees collected once lockdown restrictions are lifted and it is safe to do so.

However, it is unclear when this later collection can take place because of uncertainty over the length of the latest lockdown period.

It is the first time in the scheme’s 21-year history the collection has not taken place. Four years ago it was delayed by a week because of bad weather.

Organisers desperately disappointed by having to make the decision insist the scheme will be back in full swing in 2022.

Volunteers helping at a previous collection.

The cancellation is another serious financial blow to the Hospice as the tree campaign is one of its flagship fundraising events of the year.

Months of meticulous planning had again gone into this year’s scheme.

Officials had carefully considered safety restrictions caused by Covid-19, with volunteers and driving teams kept in family/support bubbles.

Further discussions were then held after the end-of-year announcement that Cheshire was going into Tier 4, with the decision made that it was safe to continue.

However, any hopes the collection could still go ahead ended once the third lockdown was imposed.

Organisers immediately halted tree registrations before concluding the collection could not go ahead.

A Hospice statement said: “We’re truly sorry we’ve had to make this decision but the safety of our community and all involved in making the collection happen must come first. Therefore, we must postpone for a safer time and follow the government’s guidance to stay at home.

“This is a devastating blow to the Hospice after an extremely challenging year for fundraising, having been unable to hold a major fundraising event since the last Christmas Tree Collection in January 2020!

“The collection is one of our biggest annual campaigns generating vital funds that we rely on to continue to provide our care. ”

Volunteers before last year’s Christmas tree collection.

James Bunker – Christmas Tree Collection Volunteer

*Please note that the Christmas Tree Collection has now been postponed and some information in this article may be out of date. For more information click here.*

 

James Bunker was not even born when East Cheshire Hospice’s first Christmas tree collection took place in 2001.

But the teenager is now a key part of operations as the scheme celebrates its coming of age this weekend (Jan 9-10).

He was just 13 when he first volunteered for the collection with his dad Richard by joining the team on vans collecting trees for recycling.

James, who is 20 in March, is still out on the vans collecting trees each January, but is also increasingly involved in the planning and co-ordination process, assisting organisers Richard Raymond and Pete Chapman.

He was on the helpline before and after last year’s tree collection, spending the actual weekend on a round with his dad.

Richard and Pete began the pioneering collection which now collects around 7,500 trees and raises in excess of £100,000 for the Hospice each year.

James said: “Richard and Pete do an absolutely incredible job organising and co-ordinating the collection each year, spending more than three months on the event with all the planning.

“I’m still quite young, but I’m keen to do as much as I can to help them and pick up tips on how it works so that in future years I can help as much as is needed.

“The Hospice are keen to ensure the long-term sustainability of the collection to make sure it carries on for years to come as it’s such a vital part of their fundraising.”

James is a manager in Wilmslow for Mitchell’s and Butlers who operate pubs, bars and restaurants all over the UK. He also freelances as an event manager for large-scale public sporting events and  works on major Hospice fundraising events.

James Bunker and Richard Raymond, co-founder of the East Cheshire Hospice Christmas tree collection scheme.

Route planning company 121 Systems optimises journeys for the 40-strong fleet of vans, a service it provides voluntarily to more than 50 charities.

Managing director Chris Sisson said: “There are a number of reasons we help East Cheshire Hospice. The collection brings the community together, donations go directly towards caring for patients facing challenges at end-of-life and trees are recycled so there are also environmental benefits.”

The company is one of many providing support, including main sponsors AstraZeneca. Organisers are asking tree customers to be patient about collections of their tree due to Covid restrictions.

* For any queries email echtrees@echospice.org.uk or call the Customer Care Helpline 01625 708939.

Christmas Tree Collection Hopes For A Bumper year

A surge in Christmas tree sales could benefit the collection service run on behalf of East Cheshire Hospice.

Organisers are hoping the sales bonanza increases demand for their service on the weekend of January 9 and 10.

Co-organiser Richard Raymond said: “Sales are up 25 per cent nationally and that’s reflected locally as well. Talking to our tree sellers around the place they all seem to be doing very well.

“We’ve had such a rotten year and maybe people want to go out with a bang and have a proper Christmas.

“People aren’t going away either. They might have been going skiing, or to the sun or visiting relatives and normally wouldn’t have a tree but might have one this year.

“We’re envisaging a bumper year and hopefully  everyone knows we’re around. How good would that be for the Hospice if we could deliver a bumper year for them when they haven’t had any mass participation fundraising?”

The collection covers Macclesfield, Wilmslow, Alderley Edge, Bollington, Prestbury, Poynton, Congleton and Knutsford. The post codes CW12, SK9, SK10, SK11, SK12 and WA16.

The collection, sponsored by AstraZeneca, has been boosted by a £2,000 grant from Macclesfield Town Council’s finance committee.

A council spokesperson said: “The committee know how much hard work goes into organising the collection and wanted to show their support, especially in such a challenging year.”

Additional corporate support, including van sponsors, covers costs enabling donations to go straight to Hospice care.

* To register visit www.eastcheshirehospice.org.uk/echtrees/

Staff at the Ansa recycling plant in West Park at the 2019 Christmas tree collection.

Christmas Tree Collection 2021

The East Cheshire Hospice Christmas Tree Collection is still going ahead despite Covid-19.

Organisers are having to make changes for the service on the weekend of January 9-10 to comply with government guidelines.

The collection is a major fundraiser for the Hospice which has lost serious revenue because of the pandemic.

Therefore organisers are requesting the public to once again support the campaign, with a special plea to those with plastic trees to also make donations.

The collection covers the same areas as before which means Macclesfield, Wilmslow, Alderley Edge, Bollington, Prestbury, Poynton, Congleton and Knutsford. The post codes are CW12, SK9, SK10, SK11, SK12 and WA16.

Co-organiser Richard Raymond said: “We have to be Covid secure in our running of the service so there can only be two people on a van unless they’re a family bubble.  That means we’re going to be slower and we ask for patience and understanding.

“We can’t have large gatherings of volunteers which means we’ll change the way we run our safety briefing.  Unfortunately, we’re only going to be able to have experienced collectors or volunteers so we won’t be able to entertain any newcomers this year.

“In addition, because we’re having to be socially distant we can’t offer the same welfare facilities to volunteers in terms of being able to look after their meals so it might mean packed lunches.

“The main thing to stress as far as volunteers or our partners, such as the Ansa recycling depot, is that we must be Covid secure to adhere to whatever guidelines are in place at the time.”

The collection, sponsored by AstraZeneca, is about to enter its 21st year, raising more than £1.1m for the Hospice. More sponsors are encouraged to come forward.

Richard said: “The Hospice needs the money now more than ever after cancelling its fundraising events.  We don’t know how many people will buy real Christmas trees this year.

“We’ve all gone on the internet and had goods delivered to our doors. Will people do that with a plastic tree? We hope not and are putting out the message as strongly as possible that plastic trees aren’t environmentally friendly unlike real trees.

“The fact we’re still around and will collect those trees for recycling should hopefully be a factor in for people deciding whether to get a real tree or not.”

* To register and find out more visit www.eastcheshirehospice.org.uk/echtrees.

The safety briefing for the 2020 East Cheshire Hospice Christmas Tree Collection.