Christmas Tree Collection 2023 success! - East Cheshire Hospice

Christmas Tree Collection 2023 success!

Wind and rain did not deter volunteers who turned the East Cheshire Hospice tree collection into another major triumph.

More than 6,000 trees were collected last weekend in what is believed to be the largest scheme of its kind in the world.

Around £150,000 was raised as more than 250 volunteers staged a military-style operation to collect Christmas trees in a fleet of vans.

Volunteers ready to start the Christmas tree collection.

Richard Raymond, co-founder of the scheme, said: “What another amazing effort! Every year we are so lucky to get such an incredible response to our appeal from the public.

“That support comes from dedicated volunteers who always answer our call for help and those who continue to make generous donations.

“This year has been particularly hard due to the cost of living crisis, yet we still managed to raise as much as we have done in the last few years.

Helping hands… catering volunteers (from left) Sunflower Wellbeing Centre manager Helen Henshaw, Clinical Director Sandra Jones, Medical Director Dr Debbie Alexander and Trustee Louise Haughton.

“We have a long list of sponsors as well, led by AstraZenaca, who loyally stick by us and we must say a special thank you to them.”

The scheme has raised a staggering £1.65m in 23 years.

Volunteers over the two days included Hospice staff and workers at the Ansa recycling plant in West Park.

Christmas tree scheme co-founders Richard Raymond (left) and Pete Chapman.

A mulching machine operated by CRJ Recycling, from Allostock, turned trees into compost, complying with the Hospice’s on-going eco initiatives.

Two traditions returned after a Covid-enforced absence.

The Mulchers Arms, a makeshift canteen for refreshments, reopened at the recycling plant, while a post-event drink at the Cock and Pheasant pub in Bollington also made a welcome return.

Tree collectors (from left) Tony Browne, Spike Elliott and wife Helen.

Volunteers taking part included Harry Whittaker, whose dad Clive played a key role in the route planning for collection vans, using sophisticated software.

Early starters on collection rounds were husband and wife Spike and Helen Elliott, from Broken Cross, whose crew included Tony Browne, from Macclesfield. The trio are all regulars on the volunteering front.

Ansa depot recyclers playing their part in the tree collection scheme.

Volunteer Harry Whittaker collects the first tree from East Cheshire Hospice.

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