The countdown is under way to the trail-blazing East Cheshire Hospice Christmas Tree Collection scheme which is proving an inspiration to other charities.
Registrations are open for the 24th edition of the event over the weekend of January 13/14.
Around 130 other hospices now run similar fundraising schemes inspired by the East Cheshire Hospice model which is believed to be the largest volunteer-led Christmas tree collection in the world.
Volunteers ready to start the Christmas tree collection last January.
The scheme, sp0nsored by AstraZeneca, has raised more than £1.75m after another £150,000 was generated for patient care last winter.
Co-founders Pete Chapman and Richard Raymond have been out and about again advising other hospices since the last of nearly 7000 trees were recycled on their scheme in January.
Richard said: “It’s all systems go for us again in 2024 and hopefully the collection is just as popular.
“The other schemes started from our original idea and the inspiration we’ve given to them is the icing on the cake for us.
“Many have been in touch with us. This year for example, Pete and I have been to Leeds and Chesterfield and we had a Zoom call with a hospice in Scotland. I also went down to Harrow and Wealdstone and talked to them.
“Our message is that it’s an innovative piece of fundraising at a really important time of the year for hospices and you can build it to what you want.
Christmas tree scheme co-founders Richard Raymond (left) and Pete Chapman.
“The scheme has many spin-offs. It brings new volunteers to the hospice movement and obviously raises funds which is the crucial thing.
“There’s also the recycling element with the eco-friendly benefits, while it reaches out into the community and forms partnerships with commercial concerns.
“The other hospices think it’s a great idea and in many cases they’ve just needed the impetus and confidence. If they hit a snag, we’re on the end of a phone or email to answer any questions and point them in the right direction.”
Post codes covered by East Cheshire Hospice volunteers are once again CW12, SK9, SK10, SK11, SK12 and WA16. Collection vans will leave the Hospice in staggered starts.
Sponsorship by local business means all donations go straight to the Hospice. Organisers are already considering how to celebrate the 25th anniversary in 2025.
*To register visit www.echtrees.org.uk.