Christmas Tree Collection Archives - East Cheshire Hospice

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.

Firgus’ Summer Holiday

Firgus, the East Cheshire Hospice virtual Christmas tree, has enjoyed a summer holiday – unlike the rest of us!

 

His travels took him far and wide, raising an impressive £4,750 for the Hospice.

 

He started his month-long journey camping in Macclesfield Forest and also sent postcards from an Algarve beach, surfing in Australia, celeb spotting in LA and a catch up with Santa at the North Pole.

 

Hospice supporters denied their own travels by Covid-19 entered into the spirit of things with generous donations.

 

Firgus’ foreign adventure was the idea of Pete Chapman and wife Heather. Pete and friend Richard Raymond are co-founders of the  Christmas tree collection which has been running for 20 years in aid of the Hospice.

Pete Chapman (left) and Richard Raymond post Firgus’ holiday progress on the notice board in Prestbury.    

 

Richard said: “It was a little bit of fun and a way for our loyal Christmas tree supporters to help the Hospice at a time when its fundraising activities have been badly affected.

 

“We’d like to thank everyone who contributed and it won’t be long before we turn our attentions towards our usual Christmas collection.”

 

A picture competition themed on ‘What Your Christmas Tree Does in Summer?’ was won by the Ashworth family from Prestbury with their tree sporting sunglasses in a paddling pool.

The Ashworth family winning picture

Virtual Christmas Tree Collection Campaign

It may be the wrong time of year for Christmas trees, but it is still the season of goodwill towards East Cheshire Hospice.

The latest to help the Hospice during the Covid-19 crisis are organisers of its Christmas tree collection.

Their fundraising campaign needs your involvement – through donations and creativity!

The organisers are sending their Christmas tree collection logo – newly-named as Firgus after a Facebook vote – on a virtual holiday.

His month-long journey is just starting, with Firgus sending postcards back each week, starting this Friday.

Luke Brightmore, Digital Marketing Assistant at the Hospice, said: “The more donations the further Firgus travels, though it’s a fun trip so his destinations won’t reflect the real cost of such a holiday.

“We’ll put a postcard on our website each Friday showing where he’s reached before moving on.”

Alongside the virtual journey, there is a competition for the best interpretation of ‘What Your Christmas Tree Does in Summer?’

The theme is based on Olaf from Frozen, a snowman who dreams of a summer holiday.

Drawings, paintings or pictures – any format is accepted – can be emailed to echtrees@echospice.org.uk. The top three will receive Christmas-themed prizes.

Richard Raymond, co-organiser of the Christmas tree collection with Pete Chapman, said: “There’s been some fantastic fundraising for NHS charities but that money won’t go to the Hospice.

“Our message is really ‘Don’t forget our Hospice’  which keeps its door open and maintains services  for our community during this pandemic.

“The Hospice has its Now More than Ever appeal and we wondered how we can help. We thought  the tree holiday is something we could do to tap into all our Christmas tree customers.

“It’s a bit of fun and will hopefully capture the imagination, including on social media, and in some ways it’s our take on a virtual Christmas tree collection.

“The competition may be a photograph of dad in his trunks and shades sitting in a deckchair alongside a Christmas tree with a beer in hand.

“Or, it could be a child dressing up as a Christmas tree with a star on their head and a few baubles dotted across the body.

“Basically, anything goes and there are no rules. One of our supporters said it’d give them something to do in these strange times and fundamentally we’re helping the Hospice. ”

Pete Chapman (left) and Richard Raymond, co-organisers of the East Cheshire Hospice Christmas Tree Collection, with their own slant on a Christmas tree summer trip and their tree logo.

Thank You To Our Christmas Tree Stars!

Our Christmas Tree Collection was yet another major triumph breaking more records.

More than 7,200 trees were collected and recycled, with the overall income predicted to reach £140,000 which will pay for nearly three full weeks of Hospice care.

The 20th year of the service, sponsored again by AstraZeneca, saw the total raised for the Hospice exceed £1.1m.

Organisers were delighted with the success of the scheme in which more than 250 volunteers took part earlier this month.

A push to encourage the public to buy real Christmas trees due to their environmental credentials also paid off.

Trees were taken to the Ansa recycling plant in West Park for recycling. ANSA Environmental Services Ltd were major partners in the project.

A fleet of vans were provided by transport sponsors Cheshire Vehicle Rentals and Enterprise Rentals, along with owner drivers John McPherson, Creative Kitchens, Harry Newton, Darren Taylor, Lee Fisher Plastering, Alan Potts, John Hirst and We’re Moving.

Other sponsors included Avanti Signs, FDR Law, Flour Water Salt and other local businesses.

Co-organiser Richard Raymond said: “It was another record year on all fronts and we’d like to thank  everyone who worked tirelessly in many different ways to make this annual event such a success.

“We rely entirely on public support and thank everyone for their kind donations in lieu of collecting their trees.

“The Hospice benefits greatly from their generosity, allowing them to continue to care for patients, their families and carers.”

Christmas tree collection volunteers ready for action

Katie Porter Talks Christmas Tree Collection

Kate Porter who is part of the East Cheshire Hospice Christmas Tree Collection team.

 

Kate Porter is following in the footsteps of her late father by visiting homes to support East Cheshire Hospice.

The Macclesfield mum-of-two is a van driver for the charity’s Christmas Tree Collection service which swings into action again this weekend (Jan 11/12).

Her dad Oliver Hanson (71) was also a Hospice volunteer and collected lottery money for the charity right up until his death in 2006.

On his weekly rounds he would be offered tea and cakes by customers who enjoyed a chat as much as he did.

Kate said: “The Hospice and his lottery round were dear to his heart and I felt like I needed to carry on his legacy.”

“It was only when I saw how many of his lottery customers were at his funeral that I realised just how much the role meant to him.”

“He was out in all weathers knocking on doors collecting the £1 lottery subs and was well known at the Hospice, though he never made a song and dance about it.”

For the last 14 years, Kate has helped with the tree collection, starting as a crew member before becoming the first female van driver a few years ago.

Kate works as a PA for HealthCare 21 Communications and toy and game inventors Carterbench, both based in Macclesfield.

Her partner Chris Nixon has helped with the tree collection for the last eight years after son Sam and daughter Bex assisted early on.

“When you do it once you get hooked. It’s such a positive day and the organisers and everyone else is so welcoming and make you feel part of it.”

“I’m proud of my female van driving role and I usually do the pick-ups which are furthest from Macclesfield.  I like driving and there’s probably as many women who help out in various roles as men.”

“The collection keeps getting bigger, so every year we need more help. There’s a great team spirit even when it’s pouring with rain.”

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