Pres­ti­gious royal award for hospice vol­un­teers

Macclesfield Express - - FRONT PAGE -

VOL­UN­TEERS who helped col­lect 55,000 firs for the East Cheshire Hospice Christ­mas Tree Col­lec­tion have won a pres­ti­gious award from the Queen.

The Queen’s Award for Vol­un­tary Ser­vice is the coun­try’s top award for vol­un­teer groups and recog­nises more than 300 vol­un­teers for the Mac­cles­field-based hospice who have raised al­most £700,000 in 16 years by col­lect­ing trees which are re­cy­cled as green waste in re­turn for a do­na­tion.

The award was cre­ated in 2002 to cel­e­brate the Queen’s Golden Ju­bilee and is an­nounced to co­in­cide with the an­niver­sary of her corona­tion.

Vol­un­teers An­drew Robert­son, Pete Chap­man, Richard Ray­mond and Tony Mid­dle­ton put to­gether a spe­cial mes­sage for vol­un­teers, which said: “This is a great hon­our and a re­ward for all the hard work of ev­ery vol­un­teer over the past 16 years.

“We are also de­lighted to ac­knowl­edge the enor­mous con­tri­bu­tions from all our sup­port­ers – tree cus­tomers, spon­sors or sup­pli­ers. With­out you and our helpers, the Christ­mas Tree Col­lec­tion could never have suc­ceeded in the way that it has.

“We are al­ready thinking and plan­ning for our 2017 col­lec­tion, when we hope you’ll once again sup­port us.

“We are hop­ing this im­por­tant hon­our will en­cour­age more hospice tree col­lec­tions to start up fol­low­ing our ex­am­ple.”

An­other 23 hos­pices around the coun­try are al­ready ben­e­fit­ing from sim­i­lar schemes.

Rob Bar­row DL, chair­man of trustees at the hospice, said: “We are so de­lighted the col­lec­tion has been recog­nised. I be­lieve there’s no greater ex­am­ple of a com­mu­nityled, com­mu­nity-wide ef­fort do­ing so much good for peo­ple at the end of life.

“The vol­un­teer team works all year so that for one week­end in Jan­uary our com­mu­nity can demon­strate their won­der­ful sup­port for our char­ity.”

David Briggs, Lord- Lieu­tenant of Cheshire, will present the award at the next col­lec­tion. Money raised helps run the hospice, which needs thou­sands of pounds each day to op­er­ate.

Mike Pyrah, hospice di­rec­tor, said: “I have watched and par­tic­i­pated in this phe­nom­e­nal an­nual event reach­ing out to scores of new peo­ple ev­ery year, rais­ing much-needed funds for end of life care in East Cheshire. One in five of our in-pa­tients and their fam­i­lies are cared for with the money it raises.”

●● The nurs­ing team at East Cheshire Hospice with Christ­mas Tree Col­lec­tion or­gan­is­ers. From left, Pete Chap­man, Gill Tom­lin­son, An­drew Robert­son, Char­lotte Burgess, Clare Pre­ston, Clare Watt, Richard Ray­mond, Tony Mid­dle­ton and Sarah Hunter

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