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.