Col­lec­tion was treemen­dous suc­cess!

Macclesfield Express - - EAST CHESHIRE HOSPICE -

A ONE-WEEK de­lay failed to pre­vent the award­win­ning 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 a 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.”

Jessica Ruth, events man­ager at East Cheshire Hospice, vol­un­teer­ing with Pa­trick Tooher (cen­tre) and Gra­ham Jenk­ins

Charlie Sed­don (left) with Rus­sell Chad­wick, key re­la­tion­ships man­ager at the hospice

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