Tree Collection breaks record!


A one-week delay failed to prevent the award-winning Christmas tree collection for East Cheshire Hospice from being an outstanding success yet again.

Bad weather which forced organisers to hastily re-arrange the pick-up until the weekend of January 21 and 22 did not deter donors or volunteers.

More than 7,000 trees were collected and an incredible 18 per cent increase in donations means the final donation to the Hospice is expected to be more than £115,000 this year.

It means that almost £800,000 has been donated to East Cheshire Hospice since the scheme began in 2001.

That success led to the award of the prestigious Queen's Award for Voluntary Service which was presented by Hospice President David Briggs MBE KStJ, Her Majesty's Lord-Lieutenant of Cheshire, before volunteers set off from Prestbury Village Hall after breakfast and a briefing on the first morning.  

Mr Briggs, who was accompanied by  Kathy Cowell OBE DL, High Sheriff of Cheshire, reminded everyone involved that donations are put towards core costs of running the Hospice, emphasising how important such fundraising is to the care of patients.

Collections were made far and wide, including Macclesfield, Poynton, Chelford, Alderley Edge, Disley, Wilmslow, Knutsford and Congleton.

Co-organiser Richard Raymond said: "We're delighted with the record total raised and the decision to postpone the collection fully paid off. The adverse weather could have led to accidents or injuries.

"We had almost 40 vans out each day and the delay meant we had to reorganise the rota because some of our 250 volunteers couldn't make it for various reasons but everyone rallied round and did an amazing job.

"The delay even meant we took an extra 150 bookings and we'd like to thank everyone who donated so generously. It's really appreciated by the patients and their families.

"We'd also like to thank the volunteers who helped in so many ways, whether it was making cakes, telephone calls or collecting trees." Organisers also want to thank sponsors, including Sodexo, Cheshire Vehicle Rentals, butcher JJJ Heathcote, Avanti Signs, Flour Water Salt and many other local businesses.     

Macclesfield MP David Rutley, who was there to lend his support, said: "It is always to pleasure to support such a great community initiative, which goes from strength to strength and continues to raise much-needed funds for East Cheshire Hospice.

"The Christmas Tree Collection is an important fixture in the calendar locally, and it is very pleasing to see so many residents showing their generous support for the scheme and for our hospice.

"I would like to thank the organisers and the many volunteers who have ensured that the collection has been another great success this year."